Human organ-on-a-chip BioMEMS devices for testing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies

James F. Leary, Jaehong Key, Pierre Alexandre Vidi, Christy L. Cooper, Ayeeshik Kole, Lisa M. Reece, Sophie A. Lelièvre

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)


MEMS human "organs-on-a-chip" can be used to create model human organ systems for developing new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. They represent a promising new strategy for rapid testing of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches without the need for involving risks to human subjects. We are developing multicomponent, superparamagnetic and fluorescent nanoparticles as X-ray and MRI contrast agents for noninvasive multimodal imaging and for antibody- or peptide-targeted drug delivery to tumor and precancerous cells inside these artificial organ MEMS devices. Magnetic fields can be used to move the nanoparticles "upstream" to find their target cells in an organs-on-achip model of human ductal breast cancer. Theoretically, unbound nanoparticles can then be removed by reversing the magnetic field to give a greatly enhanced image of tumor cells within these artificial organ structures. Using branched PDMS microchannels and 3D tissue engineering of normal and malignant human breast cancer cells inside those MEMS channels, we can mimic the early stages of human ductal breast cancer with the goal to improve the sensitivity and resolution of mammography and MRI of very small tumors and test new strategies for treatments. Nanomedical systems can easily be imaged by multicolor confocal microscopy inside the artificial organs to test targeting and therapeutic responses including the differential viability of normal and tumor cells during treatments. Currently we are using 2-dimensional MEMS structures, but these studies can be extended to more complex 3D structures using new 3D printing technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicrofluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XI
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventMicrofluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XI - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 2013 Feb 32013 Feb 5

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherMicrofluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems XI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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