Host: Assoc. Prof. Suzie Pun, Bioengineering
Engineering cell migration for nerve repair and brain tumor therapy
Control of cell migration is important for healing of damaged tissues and on the flip side, cell invasion is at the root of the challenge that clinicians face in treating brain tumors. In my laboratory we have been exploring the use of thin film mediated topographical cues to enable efficient and controlled migration of cells. In the peripheral nerve context, induction of Schwann cell migration into critically sized nerve gaps enables bridging of long nerve gaps.
In the context of brain tumors, we are designing novel devices to control the invasion of brain tumors along paths that we specify using topographical guidance of brain tumors in vivo. We demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, that topographical cues presented by thin films enable moving a primary tumor from an intracortical region to an extracortical hydrogel sink where the tumor cells are killed. This novel approach of bring the tumor to the drug rather than the drug to the tumor is enabled by our ability to design constructs that enable controlled, directional migration of invasive brain tumors.