Microcavity array (MCA)-based biosensor chip for functional drug screening of 3D tissue models

Biosens Bioelectron. 2008 May 15;23(10):1473-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2008.01.003. Epub 2008 Jan 12.


Multicellular tumour spheroids that mimic a native cellular environment are widely used as model systems for drug testing. To study drug effects on three-dimensional cultures in real-time we designed and fabricated a novel type of sensor chip for fast, non-destructive impedance spectroscopy and extracellular recording. Precultured spheroids are trapped between four gold electrodes. Fifteen individual 100microm deep square microcavities with sizes from 200 to 400microm allow an optimised positioning during the measurement. Although apoptosis was induced in human melanoma spheroids by Camptothecin (CTT), treated cultures did not show disintegration but displayed increased impedance magnitudes compared to controls after 8h resulting from an altered morphology of the outer cells. Contractions in cardiomyocyte spheroids were monitored when the innovative chip was used for recording of extracellular potentials. The silicon-based electrode array is used as an acute test system for the monitoring of any kind of 3D cell cultures. Since no adherence of cells or labelling is necessary the multifunctional sensor chip provides a basis for improved drug development by high content screenings with reduced costs and assay times. Additional improvements for parallel testing of different substances on one chip are presented.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / instrumentation*
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Biosensing Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / instrumentation*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Electric Impedance
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods
  • Neoplasms, Bone Tissue
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods*
  • Tissue Array Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Array Analysis / methods