Solid stress and tissue stiffness affect tumor progression, metastasis and treatment. Unlike stiffness, which can be precisely mapped in tumors, the measurement of solid stresses is challenging. In this seminar, I will present three distinct and quantitative techniques to obtain two-dimensional spatial mappings of solid stress and the resulting elastic energy in excised or in situ tumors with arbitrary shapes and wide size ranges. I will present major findings from the application of these methods in mouse models of primary tumors and metastasis including: (i) solid stress generation depends on both cancer cells and their microenvironment; (ii) solid stress increases with tumor size; and (iii) mechanical confinement by the surrounding tissue significantly contributes to intratumoral solid stress. Finally, I will discuss my more recent work on neurological and vascular impairments induced by solid stress from primary and metastatic brain tumors, and potential pharmacological remedies to counter these effects.
Hadi T. Nia is an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, supervised by Dr. Rakesh Jain. His research interests include multiscale cancer mechanobiology, and the development of innovative tools and model systems to investigate the physical microenvironment of tumors. He received his Ph.D. under Profs. Alan Grodzinsky and Christine Ortiz at MIT, investigating the molecular origin of solid-fluid interactions in cartilage and its association with osteoarthritis. Hadi has been awarded fellowships from the National Cancer Institute (F32), Fund for Medical Discovery, and Whitaker Health Sciences Fund.