Cancer multidrug resistance: a new method and a new hope
Introduction of Dr. Paul C.H. Li
Dr. Paul Li obtained his Ph.D degree in analytical chemistry at the University of Toronto in 1995. Then, he developed the microfluidic lab-on-a-chip at the University of Alberta during his postdoctoral work. Dr. Li became assistant professor at City University of Hong Kong in 1996. He then joined Simon Fraser University in 1999, and was promoted to full professor in 2010.
Dr. Li is interested in integrating microfluidics for single-cell analysis in order to study the transport kinetics of chemical compounds (from herbs) on individual cancer cells. This study is particularly useful for studying multidrug resistant cancer cells, leading to potential applications in chemotherapy. He is also interested to combine microfluidics with the nucleic acid bioarray for detection of low volume and low concentration of fungal pathogenic DNA, KRAS cancer gene DNA, and influenza viral RNA. To enhance specificity, he uses nanoparticles and nanostructured materials in the microfluidic systems. He has published Fundamentals of Lab on a Chip for Biological Analysis and Discovery in 2010, and Microarray Technology: Methods and Applications in 2016. He is associate editor of Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, and sits on the editorial boards of Journal of Proteomics and Genomics and Hong Kong Pharmaceutical Journal. He has been visiting professors at the University of Mainz (Germany), Queenlsand Institute for Medical Research (Australia), National Cancer Institute (USA), Griffith University (Australia), and Australian Prostate Cancer Centre. Dr. Li is the inventor of 4 granted patents and 5 pending patents, and he is the founder and vice president of ZellChip Technologies Inc. specializing in microfluidic-based instruments for life science applications.
Multidrug resistance (MDR), which is caused by drug efflux via ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, is one of the major obstacles in cancer drug delivery. MDR may be overcome by using inhibitors. But the use of MDR inhibitors may lead to drug toxicity, resulting in failure in clinical trials. We now employ a new method called microfluidic single cell biochip (SCB) technology to measure drug uptake in patients’ cancer cells in vitro. We measure the drug uptake in the single cancer cells, and its enhancement by using MDR inhibitors. The new use of this SCB method is to use the result of drug uptake enhanced by MDR inhibitors to indicate a good prognosis for leukemia patient treatment. Although MDR is an old concept, we apply a new method called SCB to open up the new hope of using MDR inhibitors for patient treatment.