12th Annual Symposium
Physics of Cancer
Aug 30 - Sept 1, 2021
|PoC - Physics of Cancer - Annual Symposium|
Extracellular matrix viscoelasticity and its impact on cells
Stanford University, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 452 Escondido Mall, Stanford, California 94305-3024, USA
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The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex assembly of structural proteins that provides physical support and biochemical signaling to cells in tissues. Over the last two decades, studies have revealed the important role that ECM elasticity plays in regulating a variety of biological processes in cells, including stem cell differentiation and cancer progression. However, tissues and ECM are often viscoelastic, displaying stress relaxation over time in response to a deformation, and viscoplastic, exhibiting irreversible deformations in response to mechanical stress. Interestingly, changes in matrix viscoelasticity have been associated with cancer progression. We have been investigating the impact of ECM viscoelasticity on cells, particularly in the context of cancer. Our approach involves the use engineered biomaterials for 3D culture, in which the mechanical properties can be independently modulated. In this talk, I will discuss our recent findings on how matrix viscoelasticity regulates cancer cell migration, cancer cell division, and breast cancer progression.