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Session: Multi-Disciplinary General ePoster Viewing [Return to Session]

The Physics of Cellular Self-Assembly to Investigate Cancer Migration in Interface with Healthy Tissues  

A Shafiee1, J Kassis2, E Ghadiri3, (1) Medical Physics Program, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, (2) Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC, (3) Department of Chemistry, Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC, (4) Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, NC


PO-GePV-M-170 (Sunday, 7/25/2021)   [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Purpose: A more precise understanding of cancerous biological systems may help devise novel treatments in oncology. To that end, the underlying physics of the dynamics of multicellular systems may provide valuable insight into the process of oncogenesis and consequently develop remedies to halt or decelerate cancer progression. One avenue of exploration is the physics of cellular self-assembly that may shed more light onto the biology of tumor invasion into healthy tissues.

Methods: A model based on the physics of tissue engineering, which investigates tissue migration microscopically and is known as “Zipper CAMs”, was modified to enable its application to the cellular interactions at the interface between cancerous and healthy tissues. The kinetics of cell adhesion molecules in the surfaces of individual cells were investigated to predict and control the final tissue location. Statistical mechanics was used to calculate the force involved in this cellular self-assembly.

Results: The model successfully predicted the speed of cancerous tissue invasion into healthy tissues. The data show that the migration procedure must abide by some physical principles including tissue surface tension (ATST), and that the biomechanical properties of both tissues types play a critical role in both the invasion and its speed. The ATST represent the strength of adhesion molecules that drive the invasion and provide the energy and force for migration. Such physical parameters may therefore provide important information to oncologists on how to prevent or decelerate the process.

Conclusion: The physics of cellular self-assembly has been used over the past 10 years in tissue engineering to fabricate healthy human tissues and organs. However, the application of physics in the interaction between cancerous and healthy tissues is barely explored. Here, we introduce a mathematical and microscopic model based on the physical principles of the dynamics of multicellular systems to comprehend and control cancer invasion.



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