The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (TSRI PS-OC) incorporates a trans-disciplinary effort from celebrated physicists and oncologists to pursue the mechanisms that regulate the survival of circulating tumor cells. These investigators will probe the biophysical factors implicated in the endurance of individual circulating tumor cells while in the blood stream and in their progression to metastatic disease. Fluid phase biopsies from epithelial cancers such as lung cancer will be employed to assess and model the physical attributes of these tumor cells over the course of the disease across various body compartments. In addition, this center will utilize highly sophisticated, quantitative physical science techniques to analyze patient samples in terms of cell size, mechanical properties and ultrastructural complexity. This unprecedented approach should deliver a rich database for further longitudinal statistical and mathematical analysis and yield much needed insight into the behavior, survival and destination of circulating tumor cells.