Modeling the native dynamic interaction between tumor and immune system is crucial for developing and testing new precision immunotherapeutic strategies, as well as predicting clinical response to innovative cancer treatments, such as immune checkpoint blockade therapy. Tremendous efforts have been focused on the development of current patient-derived cancer models including 2D primary cancer cell cultures, 3D spheroid and organoid cultures, and patient-derived xenografts (PDX). However, these models fall short of reproducing patients? native cancer-immune interaction dynamics, largely due to their low throughput, lengthy culture periods (several weeks), lack of tumor microenvironmental components (e.g. immune cells), and/or scaffolding that interferes with T cell migration and cellular interaction. Our overall objective here is to acoustically assemble novel patient organoids that represent the microenvironmental components of a patient?s tumor in order to screen immune cell infiltration and cytotoxicity dynamics in a high-throughput and time efficient manner. Our preliminary research demonstrated the acoustic assembly of about 6,000 scaffold-free homotypic tumor spheroids in one day using standard cell lines. The proposed project aims to (1) acoustically assemble a large number of heterotypic organoids using patient tumor samples; (2) monitor the dynamic T cell interaction with acoustically-engineered patient organoids trapped on a pillar array using our microfluidic high throughput, time-lapse single cell imaging approach; and (3) determine T cell tumor dynamic infiltration and cytotoxicity or exhaustion. We expect the proposed work will yield three outcomes. First, a novel acoustic organoid model will be developed to form a high number of heterotypic patient tumor organoids. Second, this platform will be employed to study T cell tumor infiltration dynamics and exhaustion in immunosuppressive microenvironments that closely mimic the patient tumor. Third, this platform will allow high-throughput and high-efficiency screening of agents (e.g. immune checkpoint inhibitors) for the development of novel cancer immunotherapy strategies to treat solid tumors.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project seeks to enable acoustic assembly of patient tumor organoids to address unmet needs in modeling cancer immunity by rapid, large-scale, scaffold-free fabrication of patient tumor-like organoids and tracking T cells? tumor spheroid infiltration and killing dynamics in real-time. Successful development of this technology will further improve the understanding of the cancer-immune interaction as well as screening of new cancer immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and combinational therapy for solid tumors.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section (CII)
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King, Randy Lee
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Indiana University Bloomington
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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