Researchers at the University of Delaware have successfully cultured and maintained a human lymph node in a microfluidic chip format that allows for independent dynamic control of lymphatic and vascular perfusion. The developed lymph node has wide application. It can assist us in understanding immune activation, cancer metastasis mechanisms, HIV replication, drug screening and development of drug delivery approaches to a target lymph node.
Current organ-on-a-chip models often ignore important and complex physiological components that are crucial for successful implementation and use. Factors including mechanical forces, 3D spatial organization and intercellular interactions must be taken into consideration. The newly developed lymph node has additional potential as a bioreactor to aid in immunotherapy or other therapeutic applications. The bioreactor would have the ability to facilitate the expansion of T cells for immunotherapy applications.
· Versatile for wide application and use
· Only platform that recapitulates the true physiological environment
o Support cells
o 3D structure
o Cell-cell interactions
The newly developed ex vivo lymph node in a microfluidic chip format can be used both as a means of understanding aspects of the lymph node and its functions and used for therapeutic applications. The developed lymph node could also be used in a precautionary manner to test immune reactivity to transplant tissues, or even biological devices or therapy. The proposed platform has the potential to open numerous new lines of exploration and bring about useful information on the largely under studied lymph node, and its intricate and dynamic processes.
The technology is patent pending. Further information on licensing opportunities is available on request.