Abhishek Jain (photo), PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Medical Physiology in the College of Medicine, collaborated with researchers from the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology at MD Anderson Cancer Center to gain a better understanding of the interaction among ovarian cancer tumors, blood vessels, and platelets. The scientists found that tumors break the blood vessel barriers and this allows them to communicate with blood cells, including platelets. When these tumors come into contact with platelets, they can then metastasize. The results of this collaborative research were published online on July 27, 2020 in Blood Advances. The article is titled “OvCa-Chip Microsystem Recreates Vascular Endothelium–Mediated Platelet Extravasation in Ovarian Cancer.” Previously, researchers understood that platelets are one of the initiators of ovarian cancer metastasis but did not know what led to the introduction of the platelets to the tumor cells. Instead of struggling to view this relationship in animal models, Dr. Jain's team brought a new solution to the table: organ-on-a-chip research. Organs-on-a-chip are microfluidic medical devices the size of a USB drive. The team designed the OvCa-Chip to give researchers an easier window to view the biological processes between tumors and platelets.In an interview with the International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis, Dr. Jain explained that "it basically is a microenvironment where ovarian tumor cells can be co-cultured along with their blood vessels, and then they can interact with blood cells.
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