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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Emerging Technologies for Cancer Research: Towards Personalized Medicine with Microfluidic Platforms and 3D Tumor Models

Author(s): Matteo Turetta, Fabio Del Ben, Giulia Brisotto, Eva Biscontin, Michela Bulfoni, Daniela Cesselli, Alfonso Colombatti, Giacinto Scoles, Giuseppe Gigli and Loretta L. del Mercato*

Volume 25, Issue 35, 2018

Page: [4616 - 4637] Pages: 22

DOI: 10.2174/0929867325666180605122633

open access plus


In the present review, we describe three hot topics in cancer research such as circulating tumor cells, exosomes, and 3D environment models. The first section is dedicated to microfluidic platforms for detecting circulating tumor cells, including both affinity-based methods that take advantage of antibodies and aptamers, and “label-free” approaches, exploiting cancer cells physical features and, more recently, abnormal cancer metabolism. In the second section, we briefly describe the biology of exosomes and their role in cancer, as well as conventional techniques for their isolation and innovative microfluidic platforms. In the third section, the importance of tumor microenvironment is highlighted, along with techniques for modeling it in vitro. Finally, we discuss limitations of two-dimensional monolayer methods and describe advantages and disadvantages of different three-dimensional tumor systems for cell-cell interaction analysis and their potential applications in cancer management.

Keywords: Cancer, circulating tumor cells, exosomes, tumor microenvironment, 3D cell cultures, microfluidic Platforms.

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