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PhD Thesis, Oihane Mitxelena

Oihane Mitxelena

Oihane Mitxelena

Title: Microfluidic platforms for the validation of new targeted therapies for personalised medicine against osteosarcoma

Defense Date: 14/12/2018

Director: Sergio Arana Alonso

Co-directora: Maite Mujika

Abstract

Cancer is a leading cause of mortality in the world, with osteosarcoma being one of the most common types among children between 1 and 14 years old. Current treatments including preoperative chemotherapy, surgery and postoperative chemotherapy produce several side effects with limited effectiveness. All these side effects are associated with the lack of targeting capability and the limited specificity that these treatments demonstrate for cancer cells. These limitations made the development of alternative treatment modalities necessary. The novel treatments should offer an efficient and targeted therapy, avoiding the above-mentioned adverse side effects.

These targeted therapies involve different particles and external energy sources to target cancer cells: they identify cancer cells in a more precise and effective way, usually causing less damage to healthy tissue. In the last decades, several nanoscale drug delivery and drug targeting systems were developed. However, methodological issues slowed their application, as the in vitro validation of these therapies is limited. Thus, there was need for alternative in vitro methodologies that provided controlled environments to perform the target therapy validation assays.

In order to overcome the problems found in traditional techniques, the use of microtechnology, and more specifically microfluidics, in the biomedical field showed to be of great utility in the development of alternative technologies for biomedical applications. The devices optimized in this thesis, offer new alternatives for the in vitro characterization of targeted therapies, since they allow a significant reduction of reagents and an accurate control over cell environment.

Considering all the above-mentioned facts, the objective of this work was to validate microfluidic platforms for the in vitro characterization of cytotoxic drug delivery systems, their diffusion capabilities through membranes to determine the drug absorbance and the validation of new magnetic hyperthermia therapies.

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