October 22, 2013

New Device Mimics Cancer Environment

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In 1761, Giovanni Morgagni of Padua laid the foundation for oncology, the study of cancer, when he performed the first autopsies relating patients’ illnesses to pathologic findings after death. Since then, an understanding of not only the body but also the cardiovascular system has become vital in the race to cure cancer.

Prof. Mingming Wu, biological and environmental engineering, B.J. Kim, a research associate at the University, and others have created a microfluidic device mimicking cancer cell metastasis, the spread of cancer, throughout the body. By reproducing the specific microenvironmental conditions in which tumour cells reproduce and proliferate, the new device will allow scientists to follow the spread of tumour cells while incorporating signaling proteins such as chemokines and growth factors into the cancerous environment.

“This device recreates the process of how cancer cells flow from the primary tumor site to the secondary site and eventually will be able to determine how each set of conditions affect cancer cell movement,” Wu said.

Courtesy of B.J. KimManipulating a microenvironment | Prof. Mingming Wu has created a microfluidic device that mimics the spread of cancer in the body.