Cancer encompasses a broad family of more than 100 complex diseases that share the phenomenon of cell populations that undergo uncontrolled division and also have the potential to invade other tissues in the body. Our ability to understand the vast complexity of cancer, much less clinically control it, is only as good as the tools we have available to study it. For materials scientists seeking to understand the challenges and opportunities, the tutorial will provide an overview of two important fields of technology development: modeling systems and analysis tools.
Materials science is a fundamental feature driving progress in both of these critical fields, yet more is required from the materials science community to further advance capabilities on both fronts. For example, new hydrogel materials for 3D cell culture were integrated in microfluidics for modeling tumor angiogenesis. Novel magnetic nanomaterials were exploited for tumor targeting and biomarker detection. Symposium K will highlight groundbreaking advances that span a broad landscape of emerging molecular- and cellular-scale technologies focused on cancer.
Part I of the tutorial discusses the evolution of microsystems for modeling tumor development, progression and metastasis. In particular, descriptions on tumor vascular modeling capturing early stage mechanisms of metastatic potential and characterizing epithelial to mesenchymal transition will provide materials scientists with an understanding of critical events of tumorigenesis, proliferation and progression.
Part II focuses on innovative molecular and cellular detection technologies, especially for cancer diagnosis and monitoring. A broad spectrum of sensor technologies that have been applied towards targeting and tracking molecular markers, circulating tumor cells, and trafficking vesicles used to identify cancer is discussed.