Developing tissue-on-chip technology

Developing tissue-on-chip technology

Developing tissue-on-chip technology to measure the response of brain tumours to established therapy and novel drugs.
Official Title: Developing tissue-on-chip technology
Lead Researcher: Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez
Where: Hull and Leeds
When: 2020 - 2023
Cost: £79,979
Research Type: Adult & Paediatric, drug response

This is a collaborative project between the University of Hull and St James's, Leeds; the Hull-Leeds brain tumour research bridge across Yorkshire.

The goal of this project is to further develop and establish a protocol that uses a miniature microfluidics chip to test every patients brain tumour with a selection of drugs. This means that the drugs found to be effective on chip could then be used to deliver an effective, personalised and precision medicine.   

Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity are the sole funders of this three year project, starting in 2020.

A small manufactured plastic device, called a chip, keeps small pieces of brain tumour “alive” for eight days following surgery. The pieces of tumour used, taken from the operating theatre at Hull Teaching Hospital, are not required for clinical protocols. The patient does not undergo any additional risk or harm.

What is it?

The chip provides the brain tumour tissue with nutrients, removes waste products and keeps the tumour at body temperature so that cells remain viable.  The aim is to develop treatments to predict tumour response to drugs. If this is achieved then the project will continue through larger clinical trials and developing a new model for personalized and precision medicine for brain tumour patients. 

This model does not currently exist in brain tumour research and can enable the identification of patients who would benefit from new drugs. 

Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez - CLICK HERE for more information
Dr Lucy Stead- CLICK HERE for more information

Dr Mark Wade - CLICK HERE for more information

Meet Antonia!

"My name is Antonia Barry and I’m from Newcastle, in the UK.

I graduated from the University of Leicester, in the summer of 2018, with a BSc with Honours in Medical Biochemistry, where I developed my passion for genetics and cancer research. I then spent a year researching proteasome inhibitor treatments in advanced prostate cancer, whilst working towards my MPhil at Newcastle University.

I have now begun the most exciting project in my career, that is, my PhD at the University of Hull.

I am studying novel drugs to treat brain tumours, under the supervision of Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez and Dr. Mark Wade (University of Hull) and Dr. Lucy Stead (University of Leeds). My project is funded by Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity and will hopefully make a difference to brain tumours very soon."


Antonia published her first research literature review paper on 6th January 2021. The paper collates recent advances in the understanding of the role of PRMTs (protein arginines methytransferases) and ArgMe (arginine methylation) in brain tumours. The paper looks at the relevance of PRMTs in brain tumours and possible routes for further research.

To view the full paper online CLICK HERE.

Antonia also worked with Pedro Beltran-Alvarez on a paper, published on 9th August 2021, exploring the effect of PRMT-inhibiting drugs on platelet function.

To view the full paper online CLICK HERE.
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