A Gel-Based Model of Selective Cell Motility: Implications for Cell Sorting, Diagnostics, and Screening

Eran Ivanir, Yonatan Shachaf, Iris Mironi-Harpaz, Daniella Yeheskely-Hayon, Lena Hazanov, Shlomit Harpaz-Segev, Tamara Birman, Limor Minai, Sonia Melino, Dvir Yelin, Dror Seliktar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The ability to precisely control cell-loaded material systems is essential for in vitro testing of novel therapeutics poised to advance to clinic. In this report, unique patterns of cell migration are devised into an in vitro gel-in-gel model for the purpose of obtaining cell response data to potentially therapeutic chemical agonists. The model consists of co-cultures in a cell-loaded microgel invading an acellular “sorting” gel. Material properties including biophysical and chemical compositions of the sorting gel are carefully controlled to guide a desired cell-specific behavior, leading to massive tumor cell invasion by amoeboid migration mechanisms. Optical transparency enables straightforward and high-throughput measurements of outgrowth response in the presence of either chemical and photoradiation therapy. Important dosing and drug sensitivity information are obtained with the gel-in-gel model using no more than a light microscope, without further need for arduous genomic or proteomic screening of the tissue samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1807106
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number18
StatePublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • biomaterials
  • cancer
  • hydrogel
  • nanoparticles
  • poly(ethylene glycol)


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