Important note: sign-up for HEALTH & APPLIED TECHNOLOGY (GT) and CHEMISTRY (C) students use Bisoncode: L.26197
Important note: sign-up for BIOMEDICAL & LABORATORY RESEARCH  (BML) students use Bisoncode: L.26539

 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, affecting millions of women. Many research groups, including groups in the Netherlands, are trying to unravel the mechanisms underlying breast cancer development for targeted therapy. Initial research was mainly focused on the primary tumour. However, women don’t die from the initial tumour, but due to secondary tumours, formed via metastasis. Therefore, research focuses nowadays on studying the interaction between the tumour cells and their tumour micro-environment (TME). The tumour micro-environment consists of different cell types (e.g., tumour associated macrophages), extra-cellular matrix (ECM), biochemical (e.g., hypoxia, lactate, pH, …) and mechanical factors, which all play a role in tumour progression and metastasis. Moreover, the TME is involved in the transition of epithelial cells towards a mesenchymal genotype/phenotype, which is an essential step in tumour migration. EMT causes loss of cell-cell adhesion, which enables tumour cells to migrate. Different models have been used to study the interplay between the tumour cells and the TME, such as conventional 2D cell culture, all having their dis-/advantages. Lab-on-a-Chip, and especially Organs-on-a-Chip has the potential to mimic the in vivo situation and therefore serves as an excellent model to study the role of the TME in tumour biology. The main goal of this Smart Solutions Semester project is to analyse the influence of different factors (biological, chemical and/or mechanical) from the TME on the EMT and metastasis of tumour cells. For this, the group defines an experimental set-up in which this interaction can be best studied, with a special focus on using Lab on a Chip technology. For this, knowledge of the different signalling pathways, obtained via literature study, is necessary. Moreover, due to the complexity of the process of metastasis and the different factors involved, this can ideally be summed up in a animation/road map (excecuted for example by a CGMT student), which can be built, with information from literature or obtained results, during the research project. Additionally, this project also gives the opportunity to analyse what it takes to implement a new technology in the (bio)medical field and what possible impact this might have (executed for example by a Health and Applied Technology student). Hence, the deliverables of this project are a Lab on a Chip to study the role of the TME in tumour progression but can also be an animation to clearly visualize the factors involved or document to set up health policy and frameworks concerning new technologies. In the end, the results of this Smart Solutions Semester project give insights for (new) possible therapeutic targets to improve therapy outcome and disease free survival.

Required study programs:

Biomedical & Laboratory Research (BML): The main goal of this Smart Solutions Semester project is to analyse the influence of different factors (biological, chemical and/or mechanical) from the TME on the EMT and metastasis of tumour cells

Chemistry (C): The main goal of this Smart Solutions Semester project is to analyse the influence of different factors (biological, chemical and/or mechanical) from the TME on the EMT and metastasis of tumour cells

Health & Applied Technology (GT): This project also gives the opportunity to analyse what it takes to implement a new technology in the (bio)medical field and what possible impact this might have.

Location: The fabrication of the lab-on-a-chip devices has to be performed in Enschede, though the other research can be done on both locations.

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Questions about this project?

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this project. You can call us at 088 - 019 53 11 or use the form below. We wil get back to you within two business days.