USC Physical Sciences in Oncology Center Monthly Seminar Series
Friday, July 27, 2012 : 11:45am to 1:00pm
Health Sciences Campus
Clinical Sciences Building
A lecture by Cynthia Reinhart-King, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Cornell University
From Dr. Reinhart-King: "Cancer cells exist in a mechanically and chemically heterogeneous microenvironment which undergoes dynamic changes throughout neoplastic progression. During metastasis, a small fraction of cells derived from the primary tumor acquire characteristics which enable them to escape and migrate through a stromal environment with unique and often contrasting matrix properties in order to establish secondary tumors. However, the physical mechanisms employed by this subset of cancer cells to initiate and complete metastatic migration are not well understood. Here, I will describe my lab's effort to understand the role of cellular traction stresses and matrix architecture on metastatic cell migration. Our recent work shows that tractions stresses increase with metastastic potential, indicating that cellular force may be a mechanical biomarker for metastasis. Furthermore, we have shown that these forces play a role in remodeling of the extracellular matrix and the leader-dynamics often seen during metastasis in vivo. Using a novel microfabricated platform, we have also investigated the effects of extracellular matrix remodeling on tumor cell invasion. Our on-going work indicates that cellular force and matrix architecture regulate invasion dynamics and that the forces cells exert against the extracellular matrix may dictate their metastatic potential."
USC was selected to establish a $16 million cancer research center as part of a new strategy against the disease by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute.
The new center is one of 12 in the nation to receive the designation. During the five-year initiative, the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers will take new, nontraditional approaches to cancer research by studying the physical laws and principles of cancer; evolution and the evolutionary theory of cancer; information coding, decoding, transfer and translation in cancer; and ways to de-convolute cancer's complexity. As part of the outreach component of this grant, the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine is hosting a monthly seminar series.