Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > NCI awards $15.2 million to create Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center

Guillaume Lambert (left), a physics graduate student at Princeton, and Robert Austin, principal investigator of the new Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center and physics professor, observe prostate cancer cells growing on a microhabitat in Jadwin Hall. With their collaborators, the scientists are developing devices and technologies that will allow them to control a wide range of variables in an effort to understand how cancer evolves. The entire experimental setup will be controllable via the Web, enabling their colleagues at peer institutions to conduct experiments remotely. (Photo: Denise Applewhite)
Guillaume Lambert (left), a physics graduate student at Princeton, and Robert Austin, principal investigator of the new Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center and physics professor, observe prostate cancer cells growing on a microhabitat in Jadwin Hall. With their collaborators, the scientists are developing devices and technologies that will allow them to control a wide range of variables in an effort to understand how cancer evolves. The entire experimental setup will be controllable via the Web, enabling their colleagues at peer institutions to conduct experiments remotely. (Photo: Denise Applewhite)

Abstract:
Princeton University physical scientists will partner with researchers at four other institutions to explore the driving forces behind the evolution of cancer under a five-year, $15.2 million award from the National Cancer Institute.

NCI awards $15.2 million to create Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center

Princeton, NJ | Posted on October 26th, 2009

The Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center was launched Oct. 26 as one of 12 centers in the institute's new network of Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers. Collaborating with Princeton will be: the University of California-San Francisco; the Johns Hopkins Hospital; the University of California-Santa Cruz; and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif.

The center's goal is to understand the explosive evolution of cancer under stress at a deep theoretical and experimental level by leveraging the strengths of an interdisciplinary team of physicists, engineers, chemists, biochemists and oncologists. Using a physics-based approach, the team intends to better grasp the rules or laws that govern how cancer evolves, which may one day inform entirely new treatment approaches.

"The mortality rates for many cancers are flat to rising," said Robert Austin, the center's principal investigator and a Princeton professor of physics. "It's true that people are living longer than they used to live, but in the end, the cancer wins most of the time. Our current 'shock and awe' approach to treatment may not be the best thing to do -- we're leaving behind small populations of highly resistant cells."

This course may, in turn, contribute to the development of intractable cancer recurrences. Because it is nearly impossible to kill every single cancerous cell in the body, those that survive the stress of chemotherapy and radiation often have undergone mutations that render them resistant to traditional treatments, capable of rapid reproduction and therefore exceedingly dangerous.

"The evolution of cancer is the Achilles' heel of cancer treatment," said Thea Tlsty, the center's co-principal investigator and professor of pathology at the University of California-San Francisco. "It's why we can't deal with metastasis or drug resistance; it's the thing that kills people. We're addressing these important questions -- how does evolution lead to metastasis and resistance, and how can we use evolution to skew the outcome in a different way?"

Research in the center hinges on the use of microfabrication techniques to create complex habitats that provide an unprecedented ability to manipulate many variables at once and observe how cells respond, allowing the team to determine how different conditions promote or inhibit rapid cancer evolution and tumor formation.

The results they obtain will inform the development of sophisticated computer models that simulate tumor growth and predict how and when certain tumors might invade surrounding tissue. Data obtained from these simulations will, in turn, suggest new questions to ask and explore.

"One ambitious goal is the creation of an 'in silico' growing tumor, meaning a realistic model on the computer, which could suggest new experiments, test new hypotheses, predict behavior in experimentally unobservable situations, and be employed for early detection," said team member Salvatore Torquato, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, and the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. "As you go back and forth to refine the experiments and the theoretical models, you're coming to a real understanding of cancer. And that is what we'd ultimately like to do."

The experimental microhabitats, being developed jointly between the labs of Austin and James Sturm, a professor of electrical engineering and the director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, are constructed on chips of silicon or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a silicon-based plastic. Featuring a series of wells just 10 to 100 microns in size (a human hair is roughly 100 microns in diameter), the devices allow for the growth of distinct but interconnected populations of cells. Ultrasmall channels link the compartments together, providing avenues for cells in different communities to move and interact with one another. A given chip might contain tens to hundreds of interconnected wells, each capable of housing hundreds of cells.

A series of pumps and valves on the chips will enable the delivery of a variety of mechanical and chemical stressors, such as extreme pressure or chemotherapeutic agents, to different populations of cells living under a range of different conditions, including gradients of temperature and resource availability.

"A tumor is a heterogeneous thing with many different metapopulations of cells inside it," Austin said. "We're trying to represent the biological environment of a tumor and hopefully understand the rules by which a tumor evolves."

Experiments will be conducted at Princeton using both bacterial cells, which form biofilms analogous to human tissue that can be used as model systems, and human cancer cell lines. The research team currently is developing technologies to make the microscopes fully controllable remotely, allowing team members at partner institutions to conduct experiments and obtain real-time data via the Web.

The Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center's research will build on previous experiments by Austin and his collaborators using a silicon microhabitat to study the evolution of E. coli bacteria. The research team already is culturing prostate cancer cells on silicon and PDMS chips, using pumps and valves to refresh the growth medium.

To create the most realistic representations of human tissue, the microhabitats in development will be far more complex than the currently existing chips. One key challenge to address will be optimizing the use of biological matrices on the chips to make them extremely favorable for the growth of mammalian cells, triggering rapid evolution in a relatively short period of time. This process also may require the development of novel three-dimensional fabrication techniques.

Additional members of the research team include David Botstein, the director of Princeton's Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, who will lead the center's outreach and education efforts; David Haussler, a professor of biomolecular engineering and the director of the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, and Nader Pourmand, an assistant professor of biomolecular engineering, both of the University of California-Santa Cruz; Robert Getzenberg, the director of research of the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at the Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Beverly Emerson, a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

The other centers in the National Cancer Institute's new network will be based at Arizona State University, Cornell University, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Northwestern University, the Scripps Research Institute, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Southern California and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"By bringing a fresh set of eyes to the study of cancer, these new centers have great potential to advance, and sometimes challenge, accepted theories about cancer and its supportive microenvironment," said National Cancer Institute Director John Niederhuber. "Physical scientists think in terms of time, space, pressure, heat and evolution in ways that we hope will lead to new understandings of the multitude of forces that govern cancer -- and with that understanding, we hope to develop new and innovative methods of arresting tumor growth and metastasis."



####

About Princeton University
Princeton simultaneously strives to be one of the leading research universities and the most outstanding undergraduate college in the world. As a research university, it seeks to achieve the highest levels of distinction in the discovery and transmission of knowledge and understanding, and in the education of graduate students. At the same time, Princeton is distinctive among research universities in its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

The University provides its students with academic, extracurricular and other resources—in a residential community committed to diversity in its student body, faculty and staff—that help them achieve at the highest scholarly levels and prepare them for positions of leadership and lives of service in many fields of human endeavor.

Through the scholarship and teaching of its faculty, and the many contributions to society of its alumni, Princeton seeks to fulfill its informal motto: “Princeton in the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations."

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Princeton University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale: Discovery is another step toward faster and more energy-efficient optical devices for computation and communication September 22nd, 2014

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

Twisted graphene chills out: When two sheets of graphene are stacked in a special way, it is possible to cool down the graphene with a laser instead of heating it up, University of Manchester researchers have shown September 22nd, 2014

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Iranian Researchers Synthesize Stable Ceramic Nanopowders at Room Temperature September 20th, 2014

Chemistry

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Synthesis of Nanostructures with Controlled Shape, Size in Iran September 22nd, 2014

Iranian Scientists Separate Zinc Ion at Low Concentrations September 20th, 2014

Development of Algorithm for Accurate Calculation of Average Distance Travelled by Low-Speed Electrons without Energy Loss that Are Sensitive to Surface Structure September 11th, 2014

Physics

Toward optical chips: A promising light source for optoelectronic chips can be tuned to different frequencies September 19th, 2014

Elusive Quantum Transformations Found Near Absolute Zero: Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University researchers measured the quantum fluctuations behind a novel magnetic material's ultra-cold ferromagnetic phase transition September 15th, 2014

Excitonic Dark States Shed Light on TMDC Atomic Layers: Berkeley Lab Discovery Holds Promise for Nanoelectronic and Photonic Applications September 11th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale: Discovery is another step toward faster and more energy-efficient optical devices for computation and communication September 22nd, 2014

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Nanomedicine

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th September 18th, 2014

Recruiting bacteria to be technology innovation partners: September 17th, 2014

Announcements

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale: Discovery is another step toward faster and more energy-efficient optical devices for computation and communication September 22nd, 2014

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

Twisted graphene chills out: When two sheets of graphene are stacked in a special way, it is possible to cool down the graphene with a laser instead of heating it up, University of Manchester researchers have shown September 22nd, 2014

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

New chip promising for tumor-targeting research September 22nd, 2014

SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT) Receives NIST Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 Award to Produce Greater than 99% Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes September 19th, 2014

Big Results Require Big Ambitions: Three young UCSB faculty receive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation September 18th, 2014

Effective Nanotechnology Innovations to Receive Mustafa Prize September 16th, 2014

Nanobiotechnology

New star-shaped molecule breakthrough: Scientists at The University of Manchester have generated a new star-shaped molecule made up of interlocking rings, which is the most complex of its kind ever created September 22nd, 2014

Arrowhead to Present at BioCentury's NewsMakers in the Biotech Industry Conference September 19th, 2014

CiQUS researchers design an artificial nose to detect DNA differentiation with single nucleotide resolution September 18th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Alliances/Partnerships/Distributorships

IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting To Celebrate 60th Anniversary as The Leading Technical Conference for Advanced Semiconductor Devices September 18th, 2014

Biosensors Get a Boost from Graphene Partnership: $5 Million Investment Supports Dozens of Jobs and Development of 300mm Fabrication Process and Wafer Transfer Facility September 18th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

NEI Corporation and PneumatiCoat Technologies Sign Agreement to Jointly Develop and Market New Materials for Lithium-ion Batteries September 12th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE