New research findings show how higher viscosity, or resistance to flow, of the extracellular fluid that surrounds cells enables cancer cells to migrate more rapidly from a primary tumor to other sites in the body.
“We deciphered how cells sense and respond to physiologically relevant levels of fluid viscosity that are commonly found in the body of healthy and diseased patients,” says Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, Ph.D., lead investigator of the study, the William H. Schwarz Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Oncology, and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center Invasion and Metastasis Program. “We also showed that cells have the ability to form memory when preexposed to elevated fluid viscosities. We believe these findings will compel researchers in other fields, beyond cancer mechanobiology, to consider fluid viscosity as a key physical cue that regulates cell responses… Continue reading.
A laboratory test developed by a research team led by Johns Hopkins University bioengineers can accurately pinpoint, capture and analyze the deadliest cells in the most common and aggressive brain cancer in adults.
The method’s ability to capture the invasive proliferating and very mobile cells in the fatal condition called glioblastoma could lead to the discovery of new drugs to prevent or slow the cancer’s spread. The test can also accurately predict which patients have the least or most aggressive form of glioblastoma.
The findings are described in a paper published in the most recent edition of Nature Biomedical Engineering… Continue reading.
A group led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has developed a microfluidic assay to examine phenotypic behaviors of cancer cells isolated from biopsies at initial diagnosis.
The researchers hope to eventually develop a diagnostic based on the technology to predict the likelihood of metastasis in tumor cells in breast cancer patients, as well as support the development of new cancer treatments.
When clinicians identify abnormal tissue in a patient’s body, they usually extract a biopsy to determine if the lesion is benign or malignant. While a pathologist can determine the tumor’s status, current diagnostic technology cannot predict the metastatic risk of the primary tumor in the patient… Continue reading.
The Rice University Department of Bioengineering announces the recipients of its alumni awards for excellence in research, teaching, service or significant contributions to academia, society, or the bioengineering industry.
The 2013 winners include: Konstantinos Konstantopoulos for Distinguished Bioengineering Alumnus, Eric Darling for Outstanding Graduate Alumnus and Kimberly Hsu for Outstanding Undergraduate alumna.
Konstantinos Konstantopoulos (Rice Ph.D. ’95) is professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, appointments he has held since 2008.
A pioneer in cell engineering research, Konstantopoulos precisely analyzes how mechanical forces regulate cell responses as they pertain to cancer metastasis and inflammation. His highly published research, which has been detailed in more than 110 peer-reviewed journal publications, explains the biophysical and molecular nature of cellular processes in physiologically relevant in vitro and in vivo models. This is accomplished through the synthesis of engineering and micro-technology principles with quantitative modeling, and concepts from biophysics, biochemistry and molecular cell biology.
“Cell migration represents a key aspect of cancer metastasis,” said Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Konstantopoulos was among the invited faculty speakers for the 2012 NanoBio Symposium.
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cancer cells from a primary tumor to other parts of the body, represents an important topic among professors affiliated with Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology. Surprisingly, 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused from this spread, not from the primary tumor alone. Konstantopoulos and his lab group are working to understand the metastatic process better so that effective preventions and treatments can be established. His students have studied metastatic breast cancer cells in the lab by tracking their migration patterns. The group has fabricated a microfluidic-based cell migration chamber that contains channels of varying widths. Cells are seeded at one opening of the channels, and fetal bovine serum is used as a chemoattractant at the other opening of the channels to induce the cells to move across. These channels can be as big as 50 µm wide, where cells can spread out to the fullest extent, or as small as 3 µm wide, where cells have to narrowly squeeze themselves to fit through.