Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers characterize biomechanics of ovarian cells according to phenotype at stages of cancer

06.07.2011
Using ovarian surface epithelial cells from mice, researchers from Virginia Tech have released findings from a study that they believe will help in cancer risk assessment, cancer diagnosis, and treatment efficiency in a technical journal: Nanomedicine
http://www.nanomedjournal.com/article/S1549-9634%2811%2900184-5/abstract

By studying the viscoelastic properties of the ovarian cells of mice, they were able to identify differences between early stages of ovarian cancer and more advanced and aggressive phenotypes.

Their studies showed a mouse's ovarian cells are stiffer and more viscous when they are benign. Increases in cell deformation "directly correlates with the progression from a non-tumor benign cell to a malignant one that can produce tumors and metastases in mice," said Masoud Agah, director of Virginia Tech's Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) Laboratory http://www.ece.vt.edu/mems/ and the lead investigator on the study.

Their findings are consistent with a University of California at Los Angeles study that reported lung, breast, and pancreatic metastatic cells are 70 percent softer than benign cells. http://www.nature.com/nnano/journal/v2/n12/full/nnano.2007.388.html

The findings also support Agah group's previous reports on elastic properties of breast cell lines. The digital object identifiers to find the studies on the web are: doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.05.023 doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.02.034

Agah worked with Eva Schmelz of Virginia Tech's Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise http://www.hnfe.vt.edu/about_us/Bios_faculty/bio_schmelz_eva.html, Chris Roberts of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/org/dbsp/faculty/roberts.asp, and Alperen N. Ketene, a graduate student in mechanical engineering http://www.me.vt.edu/, on this work supported by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science. http://www.ictas.vt.edu/

They are among a number of researchers attempting to decipher the association of molecular and mechanical events that lead to cancer and its progression. As they are successful, physicians will be able to make better diagnostic and treatment decisions based not only on an individual's genetic fingerprint but also a biomechanical signature.

However, since cancer has multiple causes, various levels of severity, and a wide range of individual responses to the same treatments, the research on cancer progression has been challenging.

A turning point to the research has come with recent advances in nanotechnology, combined with engineering and medicine. Agah and his colleagues now have the critical ability to study the elastic or stretching ability of cells as well as their ability to stick to other cells. These studies on the biomechanics of the cell, linked to a cell's structure "are crucial for the development of disease-treating drugs and detection methods," Agah said.

Using an atomic force microscope (AFM), a relatively new invention by research standards, they are able to characterize cell structure to nanoscale precision. The microscope analyzes live cultured cells and it is able to detect key biomechanical differences between non-transformed and cancerous cells.

From these studies, cancerous cells appear softer or deform at a higher rate than their healthier, non-transformed counterparts, Agah said. In addition, their fluidity increases.

The Virginia Tech researchers selected to study ovarian cancer because it is one of the most lethal types in women and is normally diagnosed late in older patients when the disease has already progressed and metastasized.

Agah reported that no previous information existed about the biomechanical properties of both malignant and benign human ovarian cells, and how they change over time.

However, the mouse studies conducted by this interdisciplinary group of researchers at Virginia Tech have now shown how a cell, as it undergoes transformation towards malignancy, changes its size, loses its innate design of a tightly organized structure, and instead acquires the capacity to grow independently and form tumors.

"We have characterized the cells according to their phenotype into early-benign, intermediate, and late-aggressive stages of cancer that corresponded with their biomechanical properties," Agah reported.

"The mouse ovarian cancer model represents a valid and novel alternative to studying human cell lines and provides important information on the progressive stages of the ovarian cancer," Schmelz and Roberts commented.

"Cell viscosity is an important characteristic of a material because all materials exhibit some form of time-dependent strain," Agah said. This trait is an "imperative" part of any analysis of biological cells.

Their findings confirm that the cytoskeleton affects the biomechanical properties of cells. Changes in these properties can be related to the motility of cancer cells and potentially their ability to invade other cells.

"When cells undergo changes in their viscoelastic properties, they are increasingly able to deform, squeeze, and migrate through size-limiting pores of tissue or vasculature onto other parts of the body," Agah said.

Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>