“In search of a new cure for cancer”

Is there chemo- and surgery-free cancer treatment in our future? Mechano·Control team of researchers are working to answer this question with a candidate solution against breast cancer. 

Latest CORDIS news and events post highlights Mechano·Control objectives and its connection to the TALVIN project, focused on the seek for a pancreatic cancer drug.

CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) is the European Commission’s primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense.

Read more on the CORDIS website.

Teaming up to unravel mechanosensing

Teaming up to unravel mechanosensing

These last weeks the group of Aránzazu del Campo at the Institute for New Materials (INM) in Saarbrücken has been host to another Mechano·Control member: Laura Faure, a postdoc from Pere Roca-Cusachs group at IBEC. Aleeza Farrukh, a Research Scientist at Dynamic Biomaterials group, has shared with Laura some advanced patterning techniques that she will implement in her assays. By combining single-cell traction force measurements and advanced patterning, researchers will try to decipher the role of cell-cell and cell-matrix forces during tumour growth and spreading.

In order to unravel the relationship between stiffness and tumour spreading, researchers need to look first at how cancer cells interact with their surrounding cells and tissue. With this idea in mind, IBEC and INM Mechano·Control members have joined efforts to merge their expertise into an advanced assay combining single-cell Traction Force Microscopy and 3D gel-patterning. “If we succeed, we will be able to quantify the impact of tissue stiffness on cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions at the single-cell level”, Laura says. “To date, we don’t really know which forces trigger tumour spreading”, Aleeza adds. “This assay will help us understand the impact of rigidity changes in tumour growth and spreading in much more detail”. This is the third time that IBEC and INM teams meet to share skills and ideas within the project’s framework.

As part of Mechano·Control consortium strategy, partners have been sharing their know-how at all stages and scales of the project. Utrecht Research team has received several visits: from J Zanetta Zoi Kechagia, who spent 2 weeks working with organoids at their lab, to the visit of Noviocell sharing some samples with UMCU team. Also Johan De Rooij (UMCU) has been visiting del Campo (INM) in Saarbrücken and Mind the Byte has been working on its first drug candidate in tight interplay with De Rooij (UMCU) and Xavier Trepat (IBEC). Furthermore, Sergi Garcia-Manyes, head of Biological Physics & Soft Matter Group at King’s College London, has incorporated Amy Beedle, a postdoc holding a trans fellowship to visit several of the partners’ labs during her stay.

The next consortium meeting is to be celebrated in November the 16th, when all Mechano·Control partners will meet at Utrecht to discuss the project advances and the near future guidelines.

 

 

 

First IBEC PhD retreat a great success

First IBEC PhD retreat a great success

Last week IBEC’s PhD students headed off to Mas Colltort in Sant Feliu de Pallarols for the first ever IBEC PhD retreat. The two-day sojourn in the country was a chance for more than 50 of IBEC’s students to hear talks by various speakers, give flash presentations about their career paths, and get to know one another.

The invited speakers were Alfons Nonell‐Canals, CEO of Mind the Byte, who talked about ‘The thrill of being a scientific entrepeneur’; Dr. Vincenzo di Donato, Project Manager at ZeClinics, with ‘Jumping out from your comfort zone: straight from your PhD to Industry’; Pere Roca‐Cusachs, group leader at IBEC, with ‘How to progress in academia’; and IBEC postdoc Agata Nyga, who talked about ‘Surviving in research as an early career researcher: international perspectives’. There was also a workshop on ‘Molecules in the cloud: personalized medicine for everyone’ led by Mind the Byte.

 

Read more on the IBEC website

 

The way tumor cells expand challenges current physics

The way tumor cells expand challenges current physics

The photo features Xavier Trepat and Carlos Pérez, from IBEC, as well as Jaume Casademun, from UB.

Researchers from IBEC and UB have discovered that the way tumor cells expand defies the laws of physics.

In an article published today in Nature Physics, the researchers have challenged our current understanding of the discipline and developed a new framework that could help predict the conditions under which tumors initiate metastasis.

This discovery highlights the importance of physical forces in metastasis, opening the door to developing therapies to alter the mechanics of tumors as a possible treatment.

The study was financed by MINECO, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the European Research Council (ERC), the EC (under the MECHANOCONTROL project), CIBER-BBN and the Obra Social “La Caixa”.

Read more on the IBEC website

“A new type of cure for cancer on the horizon”

“A new type of cure for cancer on the horizon”

MECHANO-CONTROL Coordinator Pere Roca-Cusachs has been interviewed about the project for the CORDIS Digital Single Market news section.

Through the interview by Barbora Negolicka, Pere unfolds the project into its staples, to approach its strategy to decipher and treat breast cancer.

CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) is the European Commission’s primary public repository and portal to disseminate information on all EU-funded research projects and their results in the broadest sense.

Read more on the CORDIS website

“Cell scientist to watch – Pere Roca-Cusachs”

IBEC group leader Pere Roca-Cusachs is the Journal of Cell Science’s ‘cell scientist to watch’ in its current edition.

In an in-depth interview, Pere tells writer Manuel Breuer about his challenges and successes during his research in mechanobiology, his early years as a new scientist and more recently when setting up his own group, about attaining a good work-life balance – and how his life nearly turned out very differently when he was considering stand-up comedy as a career. Read the interview here.

Read more on the IBEC website

Introducing mechanochemistry

Introducing mechanochemistry

King’s College London Prof. Sergi Garcia-Manyes has been featured in Chemistry World, on its latest article on mechanochemistry, “Introducing mechanochemistry”. In the article, Garcia-Manyes explains how they induce chemical reactions by applying forces with an AFM on single chemical bonds in a molecule. This reaction can trigger the assembly of several molecules into a protein and its folding without the use of enzymes.

 

  

Read the complete article written by Nina Notman at the Chemistry World website.

Nature Physics’ ‘Insight’ issue features IBEC/Crick article

Nature Physics’ ‘Insight’ issue features IBEC/Crick article

 Xavier Trepat is one of six featured in Nature Physics’ latest ‘Insight’ issue, ‘The Physics of Living Systems’, in which all the articles have been co-authored by a physicist and a biologist.

Penned together with collaborator Erik Sahai from London’s Francis Crick Institute, Xavier’s article, ‘Mesoscale physical principles of collective cell organization’, reviews recent evidence showing that cell and tissue dynamics are governed by mesoscale physical principles – force, density, shape, adhesion and self-propulsion.

The work described in the review forms part of MECHANOCONTROL project.

Read more on the IBEC website

 

 

Increased hydrogel stability for immuno(histo)chemistry after culture

The crosslinking approach. First the fibrous gel is formed, then the crosslinks are formed selectively in the bundles. Source: Noviocell

Noviogel hydrogels can be crosslinked after cell or organoid culture without loss of the reversible thermosensitive property during culture

Because of the reversible thermosensitive behavior of Noviogel, some researchers experience difficulties in using the hydrogel for immune staining. By using a crosslinker after culture, the properties of Noviogel are still intact like ease of use in cell passaging and retrieval of cells for other downstream applications. The solution was reported in this latest Nature Communication paper of the group of Paul Kouwe.

 

 

   Read it on the NOVIOCELL website.

Mind the Byte takes the stage during Pint of Science 2018 Festival

Mind the Byte takes the stage during Pint of Science 2018 Festival

Read more on the Pint of Science website: here and here.

 
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