Despite its biological relevance, the human tissue microenvironment is an understudied compartment. This comes mainly from the difficulty to sample and modify it in a spatially resolved manner. We at IMcoMET, have developed the Porcupine, a laboratory instrument that allows continuous and non-destructive sampling of the interstitial fluid containing all soluble factors that contribute to the microenvironment. It samples a mm3-range volume area in cell populated hydrogels and allows to discriminate between different zones within the same hydrogel over time. It can also locally deliver compounds with the same precision.
The system makes use of the M-Duo Technology® which allows continuous extraction of large volumes of interstitial fluid. The needles are integrated in a closed-loop microfluidic setup in which a defined volume (100-300 µl) continuously circulates through the area of interest within the studied cell culture. It is easy to operate and can be adapted to any format of 3D cell/organoid culture or Organ-on-Chip.
The system was tested on 3D-cultured cells, collagen-embedded tumoroids and in vitro reconstructed full-skin equivalent melanoma models. It allows to sample in situ the soluble factors produced from cultured cells, study the interaction between different cell clusters within the same gel, follow the response over time to a locally delivered drug, and follow protein gradient formation.
More granularity to dissect the influence of locally produced soluble factors.
The Porcupine enables the study and manipulation of the microenvironment of 3D-cell clusters and organoids grown in vitro, with a granularity that cannot be achieved with other technologies that are currently available. It can open new avenues in fundamental and clinical research.
If you are interested in the Porcupine and want to know more about what the Porcupine can mean for your research? Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.