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Physical scientists at Arizona State University will apply laws of physics in cancer fight
Date:10/26/2009

r electrical properties, how they cluster, how they act as communities."

Surgeon John E. Niederhuber, director of the National Cancer Institute, says: "By bringing a fresh set of eyes to the study of cancer, these new centers have great potential to advance, and sometimes challenge, accepted theories about cancer and its supportive microenvironment."

Other collaborators on the ASU team include Stuart Lindsay, a Regents' Professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Center for Single Molecule Biophysics at the Biodesign Institute; Deidre Meldrum, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and director of the Center for Ecogenomics at the Biodesign Institute; Timothy Newman, professor of physics and director of the Center for Biological Physics; Robert Ros, associate professor of physics; Peiming Zhang, an associate research professor in the Biodesign Institute; Roger Johnson, a research scientist and laboratory manager; and Pauline Davies, a professor of practice in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication.

"We are also collaborating with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which will provide the cell lines for us, and the Mayo Clinic, which will provide tissue samples," Davies says.

"And, we will be looking at the mechanical properties of the cells. We have state-of-the-art equipment to examine individual cells in suspension in three dimensions. The problem when you look at a cell usually is that it's a slide, it has been squashed flat and stuck to a surface, it's a two-dimensional picture. We can examine cells in a three-dimensional suspension, we can examine them from all sides," says Davies. "So we can look at normal cells, cancer cells at various stages of progression, and we have an atomic force microscope that can be used to prod the cells and see how their mechanical properties change as the cancer progresses.

"It's well known that cancer cells get more squishy. The reason they get bent o
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Contact: Carol Hughes
carol.hughes@asu.edu
480-965-6375
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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