Development of Microfluidic Platforms for Electric Field-Driven Drug Delivery and Cell Migration

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Virginia Tech


Recent technologies in micro-devices for investigation of functional biology in a controlled microenvironment are continually growing and evolving. In particular, electric-field mediated microfluidic platforms are evolving technologies that have significant applications in drug delivery and cell migration investigations. Although drug delivery has had several successes, in some areas, it continues to be a challenge; in recent years, the positive impact of electric fields is being explored. The primary objectives of the dissertation are to design, fabricate, and employ two novel microfluidic platforms for drug delivery and cell migration in the presence of electric fields. Description of iontophoretic carboplatin delivery into the MDA-MB-231 triple-negative breast cancer cells and investigation of neutrophil electro taxis are two main aims of the dissertation. Transdermal drug delivery systems such as iontophoresis are useful tools for delivering chemotherapeutics for tumor treatment not only because of their non-invasiveness but also due to their lower systematic toxicity compared to other drug delivery systems. While iontophoresis animal models are commonly being used for the development of new cancer therapies, there are some obstacles for precise control of the tumor microenvironment's chemoresistance and scaffold in the animal models. We employed experimental and computational approaches, the iontophoresis-on-chip and the fraction of tumor killed mathematical model, for predicting the outcome of iontophoresis treatment in a controlled microenvironment. Also, precise control over the cell electromigration is a challenging investigation which we will address in the second aim of the dissertation. Here, we developed a microfluidic platform to study the consequences of DC electric fields on neutrophil electromigration (electrotaxis), which has an application of directing neutrophils away from healthy tissue by suppressing the migration of neutrophils toward pro-inflammatory chemoattractant.



Electric Field, Microfluidics, Drug Delivery, Cell Migration