Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism

Despite advances in treatment, no effective therapies exist to treat patients with metastatic breast cancer. Both aberrant metabolic signaling and physical properties of the microenvironment have been independently defined as hallmarks of cancers. The lack of culture models that are physiologically relevant, however, prevents the study of the mechanisms that link metabolic reprogramming, physical microenvironment, and clinical outcomes of malignancy.

That’s why Claudia Fischbach-Teschl, Biomedical Engineering, and Lewis C. Cantley, Hematology and Medical Oncology/director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, are establishing the Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism.

By leveraging capabilities at Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and University of California at San Francisco, the Center on the Physics of Cancer Metabolism is applying physical science approaches to interrogate the multiscale biological and physical mechanisms that regulate tumor metabolism and function. Researchers are probing the consequences of these factors on tumor development, metastatic progression, and therapy response.

Specific projects investigate the functional links between altered metabolism and the physical microenvironment, resulting consequences on the biogenesis and function of microvesicles, and how physical and metabolic effects constrain tumor cell migration and invasion. All projects utilize computational modeling combined with microfabricated, patient-derived and physiologically relevant culture platforms and advanced imaging approaches.

The center is uncovering mechanistic insights with the ultimate promise of improving clinical outcomes. While the initial focus will be triple negative breast cancer, the long-term goal is to apply the research to other subtypes of breast cancer, as well as metastatic prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer.

NIH Award Number: 1U54CA210184-01

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$9.5 Million spanning 5 years

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