Home-made matrix

Scanning electron micrograph of human fibroblast (gray) intercalating within three-dimensional in vivo-like cell-derived matrix (cyan). Credit: Courtesy of Michal Jarnik and Edna Cukierman / Fox Chase Cancer Center" />Scanning electron micrograph of human fibroblast (gray) intercalating within three-dimensional in vivo-like cell-derived matrix (cyan). Credit: Courtesy of Michal Jarnik and Edn

Josh P. Roberts
May 31, 2008
<figcaption>Scanning electron micrograph of human fibroblast (gray) intercalating within three-dimensional in vivo-like cell-derived matrix (cyan). Credit: Courtesy of Michal Jarnik and Edna Cukierman / Fox Chase Cancer Center</figcaption>
Scanning electron micrograph of human fibroblast (gray) intercalating within three-dimensional in vivo-like cell-derived matrix (cyan). Credit: Courtesy of Michal Jarnik and Edna Cukierman / Fox Chase Cancer Center

User:
Edna Cukierman, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia

Project:
Discerning the interplay between tumors and their microenvironment in the pathology of cancer

Problem:
Not enough is known about the differences among extracellular matrices (ECMs) of different tissues, and in different pathologic states, to recapitulate them in vitro from commercial sources.

Solution:
Cukierman induces fibroblasts (from diseased or normal tissue) to lay down a stromal matrix. She treats the confluent fibroblast cultures with an alkaline detergent solution to remove the cells, which leaves behind complex substrates of fibronectin, collagen, and other proteins. This, in turn, lets her interrogate how the differences among these...