Space Microgravity to Disrupt GBM Mechanotransduction
Mechanobiology is the study of how cells are influenced by their physical environment. This emerging field of research provides an important perspective on understanding many aspects of cellular function and dysfunction.
Gravitational force is presumed to play a crucial role in regulating cell and tissue homeostasis by inducing mechanical stresses experienced at the cellular level. Thus, the concept of mechanical unloading (a decrease in mechanical stress) is associated with the weightlessness of space and can be replicated by simulating microgravity conditions, allowing for investigation of the mechanobiology aspects of cell function. The mechanical unloading of cells under microgravity conditions shifts the balance between physiology and pathophysiology, accelerating the progression and development of some disease states.
Cancer cells subjected to very weak gravity (microgravity) have been shown to have an altered cell cycle as well as a decreased migratory response. As such, microgravity has been thought to have anti-tumour potential through growth inhibition.
Previous groups have shown that microgravity inhibits proliferation and increases the chemosensitivity to cisplatin of malignant glioma. Thus, by subjecting glial tumour cells to microgravity, this project aims to further characterise the underlying fundamental molecular mechanisms that determine the aggressiveness of high-grade gliomas and identify novel therapeutic targets that are critical drivers of glioblastoma growth, highlighting a new direction and era for brain cancer therapies.