University of Wisconsin-Madison
Quantification of tumor-related remodeling of stromal collagen
Collagens are the most abundant proteins in mammalian bodies and a major protein constituent of the extracellular matrix (ECM), which principally maintains shape and structural integrity for cells and tissues, and plays an important role in wound healing, tissue repair and morphogenesis. Of particular interest is the involvement of stromal ECM in the formation, growth and progression of breast tumors. An important facet of this relationship is the local reorganization of collagen fibers at the tumor-stroma boundary that facilitates invasion of transformed epithelial cells into the surrounding ECM, with tumor cells migrating directly along collagen fibers. It has been hypothesized that the angle of collagen fibers relative to the tumor boundary may be used as a predictor of imminent invasion and metastasis.
By quantifying the structural changes of the collagen matrix via Second Harmonic Generation imaging (SHG) and computational image analysis, we hope to create effective experimental and diagnostic tools to support the research and treatment of breast and other cancers.