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Modelling cancer invasion as a mechanical instability

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After presenting the activities of our group on the biomechanics of some disease processes, I will focus this talk on our recent efforts to model tumour invasion. The initiation of cancer metastasis often depends on multicellular fingers forming at the edge of a primary tumour and pushing their way through the surrounding tissue. Existing data suggests that the invasion depends on mechanical properties of both the tumour cells and the surrounding tissue. We investigate this phenomenon with a simple continuum model accounting for self-propelling forces generated by cancer cells. In particular, we show that these active forces promote the formation of fingers by destabilising the edge of the tumour. We believe this mechanism can help explain the robustness of metastasis under various conditions.

This talk is part of the Microstructure Engineering Cluster Seminar series.

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