Matching Items (5)
- All Subjects: Cancer
- All Subjects: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Creators: Nikkhah, Mehdi
- Member of: Barrett, The Honors College Thesis/Creative Project Collection
- Resource Type: Text
Tumor-stroma interactions significantly influence cancer cell metastasis and disease progression. These interactions partly comprise crosstalk between tumor and stromal fibroblasts, but the key molecular mechanisms within the crosstalk governing cancer invasion are still unclear. Here we develop a 3D in vitro organotypic microfluidic to model tumor-stroma interaction by mimicking the spatial organization of the tumor microenvironment on a chip. We co-culture breast cancer and patient-derived fibroblast cells in 3D tumor and stroma regions respectively and combine functional assessments, including cancer cell migration, with transcriptome profiling to unveil the molecular influence of tumor-stroma crosstalk on invasion. This led to the observation that cancer associated fibroblasts enhanced invasion in 3D by inducing the expression of a novel gene of interest, GPNMB, in breast cancer cells resulting in increased migration speed. Importantly, knockdown of GPNMB blunted the influence of CAFs on enhancing cancer invasion. Overall, these results demonstrate the ability of our model to recapitulate patient specific tumor microenvironment to investigate cellular and molecular consequences of tumor-stroma interactions.
Stromal cells play an important role in facilitating disease progression of ductal carcinoma. Cancer associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are an important component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) which constitutes the microenvironment of breast tumor cells. They are known to participate in chemotherapeutic drug resistance by modulating various biochemical and biophysical factors that contribute to increased matrix stiffness and collagen I density of the tumor-adjacent stroma. To address these issues in terms of patient treatment, anti-cancer drug regimes have been assembled to incorporate both chemotherapeutic as well as anti-fibrotic drugs to both target tumor cells while also diminishing the elastic modulus of the microenvironment by targeting CAFs. The quantitative assessment of these drug regimes on tumor progression is missing in terms of CAFs role alone.
A high density 3D tumor model was utilized to recapitulate the tumor microenvironment of ductal carcinoma in vitro. The tumor model consisted of MDA-MB-231 tumors seeded within micromolded collagen wells, chemically immobilized upon a surface treated PDMS substrate. CAFs were seeded within the greater collagen structure from which the microwells were formed. The combinatorial effect of anti-fibrotic drug (Tranilast) and chemotherapy drug (Doxorubicin) were studied within 3D co culture conditions. Specifically, the combinatorial effects of the drugs on tumor cell viability, proliferation, and invasion were examined dynamically upon coculture with CAFs using the microengineered model.
The results of the study showed that the combinatorial effects of Tranilast and Doxorubicin significantly decreased the proliferative ability of tumor cells, in addition to significantly decreasing the ability of tumor cells to remain viable and invade their surrounding stroma, compared to control conditions.
After more than 40 years since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1970, cancer remains a formidable challenge. Cancer is currently the second most common cause of death in the United States, and worldwide cancer cases are projected to rise 50% between 2012 and 2030 [1-2]. While researchers have dramatically expanded our understanding of the biology of cancer, they have also revealed the staggering complexity and difficulty of developing successful treatments for the disease. More complex assays involving three dimensional cell culture offer the potential to model complex interactions, such as those involving the extracellular matrix (ECM), chemical concentration gradients, and the impact of vascularization of a tissue mass. Modern cancer assays thus promise to be both more accurate and more complex than previous models. One promising newly developed type of assay is microfluidics. Microfluidic devices consist of a silicone polymer stamp bonded to a glass slide. The stamp is patterned to produce a network of channels for cell culture. These devices allow manipulation of liquids on a sub-millimeter level, allowing researchers to produce a tightly controlled 3D microenvironment for cell culture. Our lab previously developed a microfluidic device to measure cancer cell invasion in response to a variety of signals and conditions. The small volume associated with microfluidics offers a number of advantages, but simultaneously make it impractical to use certain traditional cell analysis procedures, such as Western Blotting. As a result, measuring protein expression of cells in the microfluidic device was a continuing challenge. In order to expand the utility of microfluidic devices, it was therefore very enticing to develop a means of measuring protein expression inside the device. One possible solution was identified in the technique of In-Cell-Western blotting (ICW). ICW consists of using infrared-fluorescently stained antibodies to stain a protein of interest. This signal is measured using an infrared laser scanner, producing images that can be analyzed to quantitatively measure protein expression. ICW has been well validated in traditional 2D plate culture conditions, but has not been applied in conjunction with microfluidic devices. This project worked to evaluate In-Cell-Western blotting for use in microfluidic devices as a method of quantifying protein expression in situ.
Advanced biomaterials and microengineering technologies to recapitulate the stepwise process of cancer metastasis
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally according to the World Health Organization. Although improved treatments and early diagnoses have reduced cancer related mortalities, metastatic disease remains a major clinical challenge. The local tumor microenvironment plays a significant role in cancer metastasis, where tumor cells respond and adapt to a plethora of biochemical and biophysical signals from stromal cells and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Due to these complexities, there is a critical need to understand molecular mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis to facilitate the discovery of more effective therapies. In the past few years, the integration of advanced biomaterials and microengineering approaches has initiated the development of innovative platform technologies for cancer research. These technologies enable the creation of biomimetic in vitro models with physiologically relevant (i.e. in vivo-like) characteristics to conduct studies ranging from fundamental cancer biology to high-throughput drug screening. In this review article, we discuss the biological significance of each step of the metastatic cascade and provide a broad overview on recent progress to recapitulate these stages using advanced biomaterials and microengineered technologies. In each section, we will highlight the advantages and shortcomings of each approach and provide our perspectives on future directions.
The Integration of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) into Western Biomedical Oncology Treatment
Through a standpoint feminist perspective (Harding 2009) I conducted a situational analysis (Clarke, 2015) that examined academic literature and cancer support discussion boards (DBs) to identify how Western biomedicine, specifically oncology, can integrate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to improve cancer treatment in children. The aims of this project were: 1) to identify the CAM treatments that are being used to alleviate the side effects from oncological treatments and/or treat pediatric cancers; 2) to compare the subjective experience of CAM to Western biomedicine of cancer patients who leave comments on Group Loop, Cancer Compass and Cancer Forums, which are online support groups (N=20). I used grounded theory and situational mapping to analyze discussion threads. The participants identified using the following CAM treatments: herbs, imagery, prayer, stinging nettle, meditation, mind-body therapies and supplements. The participants turned to CAM treatments when their cancer was late-stage or terminal, often as an integrative and not exclusively to treat their cancer. CAM was more "effective" than biomedical oncology treatment at improving their overall quality of life and functionality. We found that youth on discussion boards did not discuss CAM treatments like the adult participants, but all participants visited these sites for support and verification of their cancer treatments. My main integration recommendation is to combine mind-body CAM therapies with biomedical treatment. This project fills the gap in literature that ignores the ideas of vulnerable populations by providing the experiences of adult and pediatric cancer patients, and that of their families. It is applicable to areas of the social studies of medicine, patient care, and families suffering from cancer. KEYWORDS: Cancer; Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Situational Analysis; Standpoint Feminism