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Sci Transl Med. 2019 Jun 19;11(497). pii: eaav1386. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav1386.

Multi-organ system for the evaluation of efficacy and off-target toxicity of anticancer therapeutics.

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Hesperos Inc., 3259 Progress Drive, Room 158, Orlando, FL 32826, USA.
NanoScience Technology Center, University of Central Florida, 12424 Research Parkway, Suite 400, Orlando, FL 32826, USA.
Roche Pharma Research and Early Development, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Roche Innovation Center Basel, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Grenzacherstrasse 124, CH-4070 Basel, Switzerland.
Hesperos Inc., 3259 Progress Drive, Room 158, Orlando, FL 32826, USA.


A pumpless, reconfigurable, multi-organ-on-a-chip system containing recirculating serum-free medium can be used to predict preclinical on-target efficacy, metabolic conversion, and measurement of off-target toxicity of drugs using functional biological microelectromechanical systems. In the first configuration of the system, primary human hepatocytes were cultured with two cancer-derived human bone marrow cell lines for antileukemia drug analysis in which diclofenac and imatinib demonstrated a cytostatic effect on bone marrow cancer proliferation. Liver viability was not affected by imatinib; however, diclofenac reduced liver viability by 30%. The second configuration housed a multidrug-resistant vulva cancer line, a non-multidrug-resistant breast cancer line, primary hepatocytes, and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Tamoxifen reduced viability of the breast cancer cells only after metabolite generation but did not affect the vulva cancer cells except when coadministered with verapamil, a permeability glycoprotein inhibitor. Both tamoxifen alone and coadministration with verapamil produced off-target cardiac effects as indicated by a reduction of contractile force, beat frequency, and conduction velocity but did not affect viability. These systems demonstrate the utility of a human cell-based in vitro culture system to evaluate both on-target efficacy and off-target toxicity for parent drugs and their metabolites; these systems can augment and reduce the use of animals and increase the efficiency of drug evaluations in preclinical studies.

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