University of Oulu

Ahmed Al-Samadi, Benedek Poor, Katja Tuomainen, Ville Liu, Aini Hyytiäinen, Ilida Suleymanova, Karri Mesimaki, Tommy Wilkman, Antti Mäkitie, Päivi Saavalainen, Tuula Salo, In vitro humanized 3D microfluidic chip for testing personalized immunotherapeutics for head and neck cancer patients, Experimental Cell Research, Volume 383, Issue 2, 2019, 111508, ISSN 0014-4827,

In vitro humanized 3D microfluidic chip for testing personalized immunotherapeutics for head and neck cancer patients

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Author: Al-Samadi, Ahmed1,2; Poor, Benedek2,3; Tuomainen, Katja1,2;
Organizations: 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
2Translational Immunology Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Medical and Clinical Genetics, Medicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, HUS Helsinki University Hospital, Finland
5Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, HUS Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6Division of Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases, Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
7Research Program in Systems Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
8Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
9Medical Research Centre, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
10Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-07-26


Objectives: Immunotherapy and personalized medicine therapeutics are emerging as promising approaches in the management of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). In spite of that, there is yet no assay that could predict individual response to immunotherapy.

Methods: We manufactured an in vitro 3D microfluidic chip to test the efficacy of immunotherapy. The assay was first tested using a tongue cancer cell line (HSC-3) embedded in a human tumour-derived matrix “Myogel/fibrin” and immune cells from three healthy donors. Next, the chips were used with freshly isolated cancer cells, patients′ serum and immune cells. Chips were loaded with different immune checkpoint inhibitors, PD-L1 antibody and IDO 1 inhibitor. Migration of immune cells towards cancer cells and the cancer cell proliferation rate were evaluated.

Results: Immune cell migration towards HSC-3 cells was cancer cell density dependent. IDO 1 inhibitor induced immune cells to migrate towards cancer cells both in HSC-3 and in two HNSCC patient samples. Efficacy of PD-L1 antibody and IDO 1 inhibitor was patient dependent.

Conclusion: We introduced the first humanized in vitro microfluidic chip assay to test immunotherapeutic drugs against HNSCC patient samples. This assay could be used to predict the efficacy of immunotherapeutic drugs for individual patients.

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Series: Experimental cell research
ISSN: 0014-4827
ISSN-E: 1090-2422
ISSN-L: 0014-4827
Volume: 383
Issue: 2
Article number: 111508
DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2019.111508
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3122 Cancers
Funding: We acknowledge the funders of this study: the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, The Cancer Society of Finland, Oulu University Hospital MRC grant, the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, and Helsinki University Central Hospital Research Funds.
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license