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BME Seminar Series: Michael King, Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
8:30 a.m.
Goergen Hall 101 (Sloan Auditorium)

"Rolling in the Deep: Tumor Cell Adhesion and Treatment in the Bloodstream"

Professor Michael King
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cornell University

Abstract: Cancer metastasis through the bloodstream is facilitated by adhesive interactions between circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and the blood vessel wall. My laboratory has used a combination of experiments in flow chambers and living mice, and multiscale computational models, to understand the behavior of blood and cancer cells under physiological flow conditions. We have identified some of the critical enzymes and surface proteins that control the fate of CTCs in the bloodstream, and their propensity to metastasize to specific microenvironments such as the bone marrow. Thin coatings of halloysite nanotubes represent a remarkable new biomaterial capable of capturing rare CTCs from patient blood samples while simultaneously repelling most white blood cells. We have applied such nanostructured surfaces for new patient-specific drug sensitivity assays that analyze patient CTCs. Finally, I will present a novel platform technology for the treatment of metastatic cancer, called “Unnatural Killer Cells”. This liposome-based technology employs native circulating leukocytes as a carrier for the apoptosis ligand TRAIL, and has been demonstrated to efficiently target and kill CTCs in flowing blood both in vitro and in mice.