Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Cancer on a Chip

PostedOctober 2, 2011

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Randy Atkins: A cancer cell’s evolution to drug resistance is complex and not easily mimicked in the lab. So Bob Austin, a biophysicist at Princeton University, is using computer chip technology to make numerous micro-environments similar to a real tumor.

Robert Austin: In this contraption I made, this complicated world, we’re now growing cancerous cells and we’re applying gradients of chemotherapeutic agents.

Randy Atkins: Austin’s work shows that can spark drug resistance, and he says a surgeon might be doing it inadvertently.

Robert Austin: In the act of cutting out parts of the tumor, and not other parts, he may be creating the same kind of world that I made and he may actually be driving evolution forward.

Randy Atkins: Austin hopes to make 3-D synthetic tumors to test his idea. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.