55. A NOVEL APPROACH TO QUANTIFY THE DYNAMIC MATRIX MECHANICAL PROPERTIES DURING CANCER GROWTH

Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Shyni Varghese

Primary Student
Name: Shruti Krishna Kumar Davey
Email: skdavey@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-822-7986
Grad Year: 2016

Abstract
The mechanical properties of a cancer microenvironment are known to play a critical role in cancer progression, and therefore, having methods to understand the changes in these properties are of great value. We have developed a novel approach combining a 3D photopatterning technique with microfluidics technology to encapsulate a cancer spheroid within a Gelatin Methacrylate (GelMA) hydrogel embedded with fluorescent particles, monitor the cancer growth, and quantify the corresponding changes in the rigidity of the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Here, we applied hydrostatic pressure to compress the cell-laden GelMA hydrogel and recorded the changes in the local volumetric strain throughout culture time. By comparing these empirical results to a finite element simulation, we deduced the approximate changes in the material properties during the cancer growth. Our results show that the ECM stiffens around the cancer spheroid during the initial growth phase (two days after encapsulation) before gradually softening with culture time (three to six days). Interestingly, we detected the softening of the ECM in regions in contact with as well as farther from the spheroid (~ 80 microns) suggesting possible activity of secreted matrix metalloproteinases (MMP). However, at larger distances the ECM remains unperturbed.

Industry Application Area(s)
Life Sciences/Medical Devices & Instruments

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