Christina Mei

Project description

It has been shown that approximately 6% of patients suffering from breast cancer developed bone metastasis within 5 years, and around 70% of advanced breast cancer patients experienced skeletal metastasis. Once the cancer cells spread to bone, the patients’ quality of life and survival rate will be significantly reduced. Due to the critical role that bone metastasis plays in breast cancer mortality, researchers have been focused on understanding why the cancer cells spread to the bone. We are specifically interested in how mechanical stimulation (exercise) applied to bone would contribute to breast cancer metastasis. While most past works focused on the impact of osteoclasts (a type of bone cell responsible for re-absorbing the bone and bone remodeling) on breast cancer metastasis, the aim of our project is to look at the effect of osteocytes (another type of bone cell responsible for bone regulation) under mechanical stimulation on breast cancer metastasis. For my thesis project, I will be applying oscillatory fluid stimulation to a two channel microfluidic device, which mimics the physiological bone microenvironment, and investigate how mechanically stimulated osteocytes control breast cancer cell migration.

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