Singh et al., 2022
Test compounds used on in vitro model systems are conventionally delivered to cell culture wells as fixed concentration bolus doses; however, this poorly replicates the pharmacokinetic (PK) concentration changes seen in vivo and reduces the predictive value of the data. Herein, proof-of-concept experiments were performed using a novel microfluidic device, the Microformulator, which allows in vivo-like PK profiles to be applied to cells cultured in microtiter plates and facilitates the investigation of the impact of PK on biological responses. We demonstrate the utility of the device in its ability to reproduce in vivo PK profiles of different oncology compounds over multiweek experiments, both as monotherapy and drug combinations, comparing the effects on tumour cell efficacy in vitro with efficacy seen in in vivo xenograft models. In the first example, an ERK1/2 inhibitor was tested using fixed bolus dosing and Microformulator-replicated PK profiles, in 2 cell lines with different in vivo sensitivities. The Microformulator-replicated PK profiles were able to discriminate between cell line sensitivities, unlike the conventional fixed bolus dosing. In a second study, murine in vivo PK profiles of multiple Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase 1/2 (PARP) and DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) inhibitor combinations were replicated in a FaDu cell line resulting in a reduction in cell growth in vitro with similar rank ordering to the in vivo xenograft model. Additional PK/efficacy insight into theoretical changes to drug exposure profiles was gained by using the Microformulator to expose FaDu cells to the DNA-PK inhibitor for different target coverage levels and periods of time. We demonstrate that the Microformulator enables incorporating PK exposures into cellular assays to improve in vitro–in vivo translation understanding for early therapeutic insight.