Research Project

In vitro models of the tumor microenvironment 

In vitro models of the tumor microenvironment  Metastasis, which is responsible for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths, involves a sequence of steps including invasion, dormancy, intravasation, arrest, extravasation, and colonization at a secondary site. These are dynamic processes that occur at or near the vascular system and are very difficult to visualize in vivo. Our […]

In vitro models of the tumor microenvironment 
Metastasis, which is responsible for more than 90% of cancer-related deaths, involves a sequence of steps including invasion, dormancy, intravasation, arrest, extravasation, and colonization at a secondary site. These are dynamic processes that occur at or near the vascular system and are very difficult to visualize in vivo. Our incomplete understanding of the steps in the metastatic cascade is a major barrier to developing therapies to prevent the spread of the disease and improve patient outcomes. Since steps such as intravasation and extravasation are inherently dynamic processes, visualization is critically important in elucidating mechanisms and pathways. Recent advances in the development of in vitro microvessel models provide the tools to create more physiological models of the tumor microenvironment and to visualize steps in the metastatic cascade. We are developing tissue-engineered models of the tumor microenvironment to visualize steps in the metastatic cascade. These models include tumor vasculature, post-capillary venules, and capillary networks. These models are also being used for testing and imaging drug and gene delivery vehicles.
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