BME Seminar Series: Ut-Bihn Giang
Microbubbles in PDMS as a Construct for Determining the Metastatic Potential of Melanoma Cells
Supervised by Professor Lisa DeLouise
Determining the metastatic potential of cells has been the focus of much research as it pertains to the progression of the disease state of many malignant cancers. In particular, the high metastatic potential of melanoma cells is responsible for its high mortality rate. The relationship between highly metastatic cancer cells and cancer stem cells is not well understood. Our lab is developing a novel technological approach based on microbubble cell culture to investigate these questions. We have developed a method to form spherical compartments in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) which we use as cell culture constructs whose unique size (250 micron diameter) and physical architecture provide qualitative measurements of the ability of cancer cells to grow and metastasize from the seeded site. In this work, we will first show the utility of microbubbles in PDMS as structures that confer unique advantages over current common substrates for cell culture. We will then demonstrate how this construct can be used to elicit morphological responses as well as chemical responses to growth in the microbubble environment. Using three A375 melanoma cell lines that have increasing metastatic potential produced through an in vivo selection process (courtesy of Dr. Lei Xu, URMC Biomedical Genetics), we will show that the morphological and migratory patterns of the cell lines hint at their metastatic potential when grown in the confines of the microbubble structure. The ability to verify the metastatic potential of cancer cells by growth characteristics is advantageous in that the innate behavior of the cells can be observed and it becomes a more physiological relevant model system for further studies such as drug testing and isolating cancer stem cells.