Lead University: Lehigh University
PI: Yaling Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
PA Industry: Particle Sciences

This project aims to use a novel biomimetic microfluidic device to test drug carrying particles developed by Particle Sciences. Particle Sciences Inc. focuses on development of particles for pharmaceutical customers. Currently these particles are tested in culture dishes which are in relatively static environments. There is a need to evaluate particles in a more physiologically relevant environment to collect in vitro data that may better predict the activities that will be achieved in animal and human based testing. Our proposed solution is a biomimetic microfluidic platform that can simulate an in vivo blood vessel outside of the human body. This platform integrates monolayers of endothelial cells (EC) and other cell types in a microfluidic channel, which can be subjected to specific flow and chemokine stimulations. It is comprised of a top and bottom channel separated by a semi-permeable cell culture friendly membrane. Our platform has the capability to access specific sections of the top channel via the lower channel, which allows spatially controlled stimulation of these endothelial cells from the basal side. This in vitro blood vessel model can serve as a generic platform to study targeted drug delivery (ligand-receptor specificity, drug carrier features, hemorheology factors), cardiovascular conditions (atherosclerosis, angiogenesis in tumor-like microenvironment), immunology (inflammation, leukocyte adhesion and migration), as well as perform explicit studies on patient specific blood vessels (design channel geometries specific to patient blood vessel; integrate endothelial cells from patient) to understand the best treatment strategy for a disease condition or study various factors that culminated in the onset of a disease condition, etc. This cost-effective biomimetic device can help Particle Science accelerate data collection cycle, develop patient specific therapeutics, as well as provide a more realistic platform to enhance current conventional R&D studies in pharmaceutical industry.