Sihong Wang, PhD Back To 2014 Winners

2014 Winners


My lab is creating a 3 dimensional human tumor model using patients’ own biopsy samples to search for the most effective drugs for individuals.

Ultimately we would like to improve outcomes of patients’ treatments and their quality of life through the new technology or biomedical devices we are developing in our research lab for cancer patients or patients with joint injuries.

Dr. Sihong Wang is an Associate Professor at the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department at the City University of New York/City College (CCNY/CUNY). She joined CCNY/CUNY in 2007 as an Assistant Professor. She obtained her PhD degree in BME from the University of Texas at Austin and her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital as well as Shriner’s Hospital for Children at Boston, working on microfluidic cell chips and bioartificial liver engineering. Currently, her research focuses are the development of microfluidic devices for drug screening and discovery, the thermal enhancement of stem cells in bone and cartilage regeneration, and medical applications of nanodiamonds. She has been funded by the New York State Health Department, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation, from whom she received her NSF CAREER award.

“Preclinical Validation of 3D Microfluidic Human Tumor Arrays”

Dr. Sihon Wang, winner of Pershing Square Foundation Sohn Prize 2014
Dr. Sihon Wang, winner of Pershing Square Foundation Sohn Prize 2014

Individual cancer patients may respond to the same treatments very differently. The current clinical practice still is “trial and error”, in which oncologists prescribe chemotherapy drugs one by one and patients’ own bodies are used as testing devices in hope to search for an effective drug or combinational drugs. Thus, there is an urgent need to create an in vitro 3D human tumor model using patients’ own biopsy samples to search for the most effective drug(s) for individuals at a reasonable throughput.

“[Winning the prize] means that we can continue chasing our bold dreams! Specifically to me, it means we can move our project to clinical directions, so that in the near future (hopefully) our technology will empower oncologists to search the most efficient anti-cancer therapies for individual patients using their own biopsy. Physicians can observe different drug responses in a device with an array platform of mimicked 3D tumor microenvironment to avoid using patients themselves as a drug testing machine. With this award, we hope to establish our first generation of devices ready for clinical trials at a small scale.”

Combining bioengineering and cancer biological techniques, we have been developing a novel, scalable 3-dimensional microfluidic cell array (3D μFCA) consisting of three PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane, a type of silicone rubber) layers to model in vivo tumor microenvironment. Our layered design enabled 3D encapsulation culture of tumor cells in an array format with bioartificial blood vessels. Then, the scenario of in vivo drug delivery to tumor cells can be achieved with this in vitro model with mimicked the tumor microenvironment. In this proposal, we will perform preclinical validation of 3D microfluidic human tumor arrays (μFHTAs) and investigate whether the 3D μFHTAs can be used to predict in vivo efficacy of cancer therapeutic treatments using “biopsy” samples from xenograft human tumors. The success of our project will establish the feasibility to conduct the clinical validation of our 3D μFHTAs using patients’ own biopsy samples and compare with clinical outcomes in the future, which may lead to a clinical system on market to test personalized medicine for cancer patients.

“In the field of Biomedical Engineering, innovation means new technology, or new methodology, new biomaterials/compounds or new devices which can help cure diseases eventually.”