The Johns Hopkins Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (PS-OC) takes a trans-disciplinary, integrated approach, bringing together experts in physics, biomedical engineering, cancer biology, ecology, and clinical medicine, to transform our understanding of metastatic cancer, created new standards of care and improve patient outcomes. The results of the experiments described here will help solve the puzzle behind the molecular and physical mechanisms underlying the initial steps of the spread of cancer, that is metastasis, invasion and migration, and help develop predictive models for these mechanism, all leading to new therapeutic targets. Our work follows the journey of cancer cells, traveling both alone and collectively as a group, from the confined, low-oxygen (hypoxic) spaces inside a tumor to the invasion of distant organs. We are discovering the mechanisms of these early critical steps in cancer cell invasion and migration and identifying key targets in what is known as the “metastatic cascade”. Additionally, computational biophysicists are using mathematics to systematically develop a quantitative understanding of the physical cuesinvolved in the metastatic cascade. Finally, we are tackling this problem with a multidisciplinary team. The Johns Hopkins PS-OC projects share innovative biophysical methods and experts, both from Johns Hopkins University and from our Collaborating Institutions.

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Collaborating Institutions

  • Washington University School of Medicine
  • University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center
  • University of Arizona