University of Pennsylvania PS-OC
The PSOC@Penn focuses on physical changes of tissues, cells, and nuclei that contribute to cancer growth and possibly initiation. As tumors cells invade and displace normal cells, the tissue often changes physically, frequently becoming stiffer, sometimes softer, often heterogeneously. Physical changes sometimes occur even before the cancer is detectable. Primary liver cancer appears representative as it almost always arises in the setting of end-stage liver fibrosis, termed cirrhosis, with various causes including excess alcohol consumption. Liver stiffness is now being measured clinically in living patients, and initial studies already show patients with stiffer livers are far more likely to develop liver cancer within a few years. The Center will develop widely applicable techniques for measuring and understanding the mechanical properties and molecular makeup of a patient’s tumors, cells, and nuclei for comparison to adjacent normal tissue.