Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (JHU PS-OC) will explore the mechanical forces in cancer that bolster the tumor metastatic cascade. Metastatic disease is the cause for the preponderance of deaths related to cancer. In fact, relative survival significantly decreases for cancer patients who present with metastases at the time of their diagnosis. This center will bring together experts in cancer biology, molecular and cellular biophysics, applied mathematics, materials science, and physics to study and model cellular mobility and the assorted biophysical forces involved in the metastatic process. One such pressure includes hypoxia located within the tumor. Appropriately, these investigators will investigate the effects of increased levels of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) on the mechanical properties of the extracellular matrix and evaluate the impact of hypoxia on cellular signaling. Furthermore, state-of-the-art microfabrication facilities will support this center and will construct substrates with micropatterning of extracellular matrix components to uncover the dynamics of cell migration.