David Odde, Ph.D.
Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Minnesota
Title: Mechanics of Brain Cancer Cell Migration
Abstract: Glioblastoma(GBM) is a highly malignant brain cancer with a median survival of 15 months and a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%. GBM is currently incurable due to the high proliferation and migration rates associated with tumor cells, which allow them to invade healthy tissue and evade current therapies. In this seminar, I will describe how we have developed a computational model for the biophysics of cell migration and applied it to glioma cell migration. Whereas extensive literature across a wide range of cell types demonstrates the phenomenon of durotaxis – the tendency of cells to migrate toward mechanically stiffer environments – we demonstrate that our motor-clutch cell migration model(Bangasser et al., Nat Comm, 2017) predicts “negative durotaxis” – biased migration toward softer environments – which we confirm experimentally for the first time. Also, we used the model to mechanically phenotype genetically induced glioma mouse models, in immune-competent mice, resembling human proneural, and mesenchymal GBM subtypes. The biophysical modeling and experiments help point us toward potentially new therapeutic strategies.