The FET-Open project SUMCASTEC explores a radically new approach for cancer stem cells (CSCs) real time isolation (i.e. within minutes vs current 40 days) and neutralization. A novel micro-optofluidic lab-on-chip (LOC) platform will be developed through a joint and iterative efforts by biologists, clinicians and engineers.

Cell imaging

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and medulloblastoma (MB) are highly heterogeneous and particularly aggressive brain tumors. Despite typically treatments (i.e surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy), both cancers usually recur. Due to involved cell heterogeneity, standard therapies provide poor positive outcomes. However, based on cancer similarities, all different types of tumors start from a relatively small fraction of tumor cells, termed Cancer Stem Cells  that have the ability to proliferate and maintain tumor growth. CSC’s express some quiescence properties, which is nowadays suspected to be the main survival strategy of cancer, cells responsible for therapeutic failure regarding actual treatments and the later recurrence and relapses.Therefore, new and alternative treatment approaches are necessary to reduce not only long-term toxicity of radiotherapy or chemotherapeutic agents, but also to find a newer targeted therapeutic strategy for example targeting specifically CSCs. The goal of SUMCASTEC is to isolate selectively targeted quiescent malignant CSCs and subsequently induce a differentiation process to sensitize them to radio- chemotherapy treatments.  For that, the SUMCASTEC project aims do develop the world’s first micro-optofluidic lab-on-chip platform enabling Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) isolation and their selective neutralization via electromagnetic sensing, nanoscale imaging and electromagnetic radiations.

The FET-Open project SUMCASTEC  involves  a multidisciplinary consortium cluster of 7 teams with complementary competences going from surgery, biology, biophysics, imaging, electromagnetism engineering, micro technology and microsystems engineering  and a system integration vision on advanced CMOS electronic technology.

 

For the first time, a system based on a single and fully integrated Lab on Chip will be able modulate CSCs microenvironment conditions with unprecedent space and time resolution:  a real challenge! Targeting the induction of Cancer Stem Cells differentiation a larger sensitivity to anticancer treatments is then expected. This project could pave the way to establish a new line of treatment for brain cancers (Gliobastoma Multiforme and Medulloblastoma), whose initiation and recurrence is known to be linked to CSCs. SUMCASTEC will also initiate the development of future electrosurgical tools that will be capable of CSCs neutralization in tissue during surgery.

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