The angiogenic switch plays a fundamental role in tumor vascularization and metastasis;however, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms by which microenvironmental conditions regulate this process are still unclear. This project will address the hypothesis that the creation of distinct tumor-like niches and crosstalk between cells residing within these niches up-regulates expression of pivotal tumor cytokines that contribute to the recruitment of bone marrow elements and enhanced tumor angiogenesis. To address our hypothesis we will utilize a physical-sciences based cancer biology approach that combines 3-D cell culture, microfluidics, and mathematical modeling. Our study design is based on 4 aims:
In aim 1, we will design 3-D microfluidic tumor cultures that will allow us to test the hypothesis that the signaling of soluble factors, as regulated by spatially resolved differences in oxygen tension and metabolic changes, provides a paracrine mechanism that spans between niches to regulate the differential expression of cytokines by both tumor and stromal cells.
In aim 2, we will evaluate whether the global and local dynamics of tumor and stromal ceil signaling, as elucidated in aim 1, impact invasion angiogenesis. To this end, we will expand the microfluidic platform developed in aim 1 to integrate vascularized microchannels. This system will be remodelable and can be adjusted to exhibit enhanced matrix stiffness as typical of the tumor stroma.
In aim 3, we will determine whether physicochemically mediated changes in neovessel formation as defined in aim 2 lead to the formation of vascular niches that impact the phenotypic identity, spatial and temporal contribution, and biological function of bone marrow-progenitors and their role in tumor angiogenesis and metastatic niche formation. Finally, in aim 4, we will conduct dynamic global transcriptome and epigenome analysis of bone marrow elements that have incorporated in the microfluidic and physicochemically altered microvessels. The generated data will be incorporated into computational signal transduction network analysis to identify molecular targets that may be responsible for physicochemically mediated changes in the angiogenic switch. Our proposed studies have the potential to improve current strategies of anti-angiogenic therapies by enhancing our understanding of the tumor angiogenic switch and identifying molecular mechanisms that may be involved in this process and provide therapeutically relevant targets. This PS-OC brings together expert teams from the fields of physics, nano and microfabrication, engineering and cancer biology to develop novel trans-disciplinary approaches to better understand the complexity of cancer metastasis, the aspect of cancer that directly leads to patient morbidity and mortality. Approaches developed by physical scientists will be focused on the study of cancer. Our studies aim to identify novel mechanisms used by cancer cells, but not normal cells, for growth and metastasis to distant body sites. These new mechanism provide novel drug targets, that aim towards arresting cancer metastasis.
This PS-OC brings together expert teams from the fields of physics, nano and microfabrication, engineering and cancer biology to develop novel trans-disciplinary approaches to better understand the complexity of cancer metastasis, the aspect of cancer that directly leads to patient morbidity and mortality. Approaches developed by physical scientists will be focused on the study of cancer. Our studies aim to identify novel mechanisms used by cancer cells, but not normal cells, for growth and metastasis to distant body sites. These new mechanism provide novel drug targets, that aim towards arresting cancer metastasis.
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