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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 how the local microenvironment surrounding tumor cells can alter their adhesiveness under flow. 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 explored the use of halloysite coatings, in conjunction with targeted nanoscale liposomes loaded with the cancer drug doxorubicin, to selectively kill CTCs found within blood. Finally, studies are underway to determine the physical mechanisms that allow fluid shear stress to increase the susceptibility of tumor cells to the apoptosis drug TRAIL.
Bio: Michael King is a professor of biomedical engineering at Cornell University. He completed a PhD in fluid mechanics at the University of Notre Dame and a postdoctoral fellowship in bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. After six years on the faculty of biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester, he moved to Cornell in 2008. He has written textbooks on the subjects of statistical methods and microchannel flows, and has received several awards including the NSF CAREER Award, Outstanding Research Awards from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Clinical Chemistry, and he is a James D. Watson Investigator of New York State. He currently serves as Vice President of the International Society of Bionic Engineering, and Chairman of the Biorheology Subcommittee of the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis. King serves on the editorial board of several biomedical and engineering journals.