Over the last few years the paradigm of how to approach cancer therapy has shifted from solely trying to mitigate cancer cell proliferation to incorporating targeting agents against the production of new vessels, which allow the cancerous cells to thrive. Current anti-angiogenic therapies focus on the earliest steps in these signaling cascades and try to prevent angiogenic molecules like vascular endothelial growth factor from reaching endothelial cells or hinder the activation of their endothelial cell receptors.
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In vivo Multiphoton Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (MP-FRAP) is a microscopy technique used to measure the diffusion coefficient of fluorescently tagged macromolecules, and can be applied to both in vitro and in vivo biological systems. The power of MP-FRAP lies in its ability to probe thick tissue with 3D resolution.
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Tumor metastasis is a critical event in breast cancer progression, hence novel approaches to predict and prevent metastasis would be of great clinical value. We and others have recently found that a novel property within tumors - the extent and nature of the ordering of collagen fibers - has significant influence on the process of tumor metastasis. This property can be studied via an optical process called Second Harmonic Generation (SHG).
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Women diagnosed with breast cancer experience chronic stress, but the impact of such stress on tumor development is not well understood. We explore the role of an important stress pathway, sympathetic nervous system release of norepinephrine and epinephrine, in tumor growth and metastasis. In vitro studies suggest that these neurotransmitters can promote tumor angiogenesis, the growth of new tumor blood vessels. We have begun to test this possibility in vivo by asking how sympathetic nervous system activation or blockade of norepinephrine and epinephrine alters breast tumor growth and metastasis.
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