Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

Twenty-four hour time-elapsed video shows melanoma tumor cells of mice squeezing and rotating an elastic microgel sphere filled with fluorescent nanoparticles.
CREDIT
Video courtesy Ning Wang.
Twenty-four hour time-elapsed video shows melanoma tumor cells of mice squeezing and rotating an elastic microgel sphere filled with fluorescent nanoparticles. CREDIT Video courtesy Ning Wang.

Abstract:
A new technique that uses tiny elastic balls filled with fluorescent nanoparticles aims to expand the understanding of the mechanical forces that exist between cells, researchers report. A University of Illinois-led team has demonstrated the quantification of 3-D forces within cells living in petri dishes as well as live specimens. This research may unlock some of the mysteries related to embryonic development and cancer stem cells, i.e., tumor-repopulating cells.

Elastic microspheres expand understanding of embryonic development and cancer cells

Champaign, IL | Posted on May 15th, 2018

For decades, scientists have struggled to quantify the forces, called tractions, that push, pull and squeeze cells throughout their lifecycles. The tools available to measure force were not small enough to fit into intercellular spaces or sensitive enough to detect the miniscule movements within cell colonies.

Although small on a human scale, the magnitudes of these mechanical forces are far from trivial at the cellular level. According to the new study, prior research by the Illinois group and others indicates that traction plays a fundamental role in cell physiology.

The team led by mechanical science and engineering professor Ning Wang reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

"If we place a single cell in a medium within a petri dish it will not survive for long, even if we provide all of the nutrients needed," Wang said. "The cells fail to form any sort of tissue because there is no support or scaffolding on which to build."

As cells grow and reproduce, they exert forces on each other while competing for space. The team found that if they inject their tiny elastic spheres into early stage embryos of zebrafish and colonies of melanoma cells of mice in petri dishes, they too experience the forces.

"The cells do not seem to mind the intrusion," Wang said. "The spheres are made of a nontoxic microgel and even though the cells will push them around, they do not seem to interfere with development."

To measure the amount of force imposed on the cells, the team placed fluorescent nanoparticles inside of the spheres. When the cells squeeze the spheres, the nanoparticles all move the same amount per area of force. The researchers can then measure the motions of the glowing particles using fluorescent light microscopy to calculate the amount of force exerted on the spheres and cells. Using this technique, the team has marked the first successful measurement of all three types of force - compression, tension and shear - in all three dimensions, Wang said.

This ability to quantify force in cells may be very important to cancer cell research, Wang said. The team found that when melanoma tumor cells of mice in vitro begin to reproduce from a single cell to about 100 to 200 cells, compressive stress does not increase.

"We thought that cancer cells would generate more pressure at this early growth stage while the mass of the tumor increases, as we observed in zebrafish embryos, but they do not," Wang said. "We suspect that the cancer cells begin to spread out or metastasize right after this stage."

Primary tumors are usually not deadly, Wang said. The real killer appears to be the spread of tumor-repopulating cells from primary tumors into soft tissues - with low intercellular tractions - like bone marrow, brain, lung and liver. "Although the underlying mechanism for metastasis is unclear, we have hypothesized that tumor-repopulating cells spread very rapidly in these secondary soft tissues. Having the ability to measure changes in tractions at the intercellular level may serve as an early cancer-detection tool," Wang said.

This microgel sphere technology may also help unravel the mechanisms behind a metastasis-halting synthetic drug recently described by Wang and his colleagues. In addition, Wang's co-authors are continuing to apply this technology to stem and embryonic cell research. "When other researchers see this powerful new tool that we have developed, they will be excited to use it in many different cell physiology, development and disease applications," Wang said.

###

The National Institutes of Health supported this study.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Lois E Yoksoulian

217-244-2788

Ning Wang
217-265-0913

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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 Links

The paper "Quantifying compressive forces between living cell layers and within tissues using elastic round microgels" is available online and from the U. of I. News Bureau . DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04245-1:

Related News Press

Imaging

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Extracting energy from a 60 nanometers thin layer October 5th, 2018

UCI scientists push microscopy to sub-molecular resolution: Carbon monoxide used to measure electric forces in single chemical compound October 2nd, 2018

News and information

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 October 15th, 2018

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications October 12th, 2018

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

Cancer

Nano Pharmaceutical Developed to Target Cancer Cells October 10th, 2018

Scientists use nanoparticles to improve chemotherapy response, boost anti-tumor immunity: U of T scientists use nanoparticles to improve chemotherapy response and boost anti-tumor immunity in breast cancer October 2nd, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 October 15th, 2018

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications October 12th, 2018

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

Tracking a Killer: UCSB, UCSD and SBP researchers trace the complex and variable pathways to the deadly condition known as sepsis October 12th, 2018

Possible Futures

Researchers quickly harvest 2-D materials, bringing them closer to commercialization: Efficient method for making single-atom-thick, wafer-scale materials opens up opportunities in flexible electronics October 12th, 2018

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications October 12th, 2018

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

180 Degree Capital Corp. Announces New Portfolio Holdings Airgain, Inc., EMCORE Corporation, Lantronix, Inc. and PDL BioPharma, Inc. October 12th, 2018

Nanomedicine

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 October 15th, 2018

180 Degree Capital Corp. Announces New Portfolio Holdings Airgain, Inc., EMCORE Corporation, Lantronix, Inc. and PDL BioPharma, Inc. October 12th, 2018

Tracking a Killer: UCSB, UCSD and SBP researchers trace the complex and variable pathways to the deadly condition known as sepsis October 12th, 2018

Discoveries

Researchers quickly harvest 2-D materials, bringing them closer to commercialization: Efficient method for making single-atom-thick, wafer-scale materials opens up opportunities in flexible electronics October 12th, 2018

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications October 12th, 2018

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

Tracking a Killer: UCSB, UCSD and SBP researchers trace the complex and variable pathways to the deadly condition known as sepsis October 12th, 2018

Announcements

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Files for Regulatory Clearance to Begin Phase 1 Study of ARO-ANG3 October 15th, 2018

180 Degree Capital Corp. Announces New Portfolio Holdings Airgain, Inc., EMCORE Corporation, Lantronix, Inc. and PDL BioPharma, Inc. October 12th, 2018

TUBALL single wall carbon nanotubes: No ecotoxicity found, unlike other carbon nanotubes October 12th, 2018

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications October 12th, 2018

High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC October 12th, 2018

Tracking a Killer: UCSB, UCSD and SBP researchers trace the complex and variable pathways to the deadly condition known as sepsis October 12th, 2018

Tools

Big award enables study of small surfaces: Rice U.'s Matt Jones wins Packard Fellowship to view nanoscale chemical reactions October 15th, 2018

Nanometrics to Announce Third Quarter Financial Results on October 30, 2018 October 10th, 2018

UCI scientists push microscopy to sub-molecular resolution: Carbon monoxide used to measure electric forces in single chemical compound October 2nd, 2018

Carbon nanodots do an ultrafine job with in vitro lung tissue: New experiments highlight the role of charge and size when it comes to carbon nanodots that mimic the effect of nanoscale pollution particles on the human lung. September 12th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project