Design of a dynamic bioreactor for cancer metastasis research
Metastatic cancer cells travel with the blood stream to reach remote locations in the body. They squeeze through the endothelial cell lining of blood vessels, enter the surrounding tissue and form new tumors (Figure). The cancer cell passage (extravasation) occurs in a complex interplay with monocytes (a type of white blood cells) and various signaling molecules.
The aim of this project is to design and build a dynamic bioreactor to study the interaction of cancer, endothelial and white blood cells in a controlled environment. This in vitro system needs to reproduce both the biochemical and mechanical conditions that are encountered in vivo. In particular, the transient and pulsatile blood flow and the therewith associated shear stresses at the vessel wall have to be replicated.