Cancer, Microcirulation, and Tissue Engineering

Walter Lee Murfee, Ph.D.

Associate Professor & Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering

Abstract: Tissue engineered technologies serve to bridge the gap in cancer research between two- and three-dimensional in vitro systems and in vivo animal models.  The in vitro systems do not replicate tissue level complexity. On the other hand, limitations of in vivo animal models include costly assays and the limitation of precisely controlling experimental variables. Biomimetic models that reflect the pathology and physiology of the tumor microenvironment are needed as new tools for investigate tumor effects on microvascular structure and remodeling. The purpose of this presentation will be to introduce this tissue engineering challenge and share recent work focused on developing a novel model that enables investigation of cancer cells, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels at the same time. A key to understanding the interaction between the cardiovascular system and tumors is observing how blood and lymphatic vessels remodel to changes in the environment caused by the presence of a cancer cells. Our work highlights a research area that intersects tissue engineering, the microcirculation and cancer biology. The use and application of the model will lead to new discoveries and an advanced understanding for therapy development with the goal of enhancing overall health.

Dr. Lee Murfee is a researcher and teacher in UF’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on understanding the coordination between blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. A key for cancer research is observing how these vessels interact. However, most research studies focus on only one of the vessel types. Dr. Murfee’s work addresses the tissue engineering challenge of observing where, when, and how blood and lymphatic vessels interact in a tumor environment.

Core Standards

SC.912.N.1.3 Recognize that the strength or usefulness of a scientific claim is evaluated through scientific argumentation, which depends on critical and logical thinking, and the active consideration of alternative scientific explanations to explain the data presented.

SC.912.N.1.4 Identify sources of information and assess their reliability according to the strict standards of scientific investigation.

SC.912.L.14.6 Explain the significance of genetic factors, environmental factors, and pathogenic agents to health from the perspectives of both individual and public health.

SC.912.L.14.32 Describe the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine system.

SC.912.L.14.34 Describe the composition and physiology of blood, including that of the plasma and the formed elements.

SC.912.L.14.36 Describe the factors affecting blood flow through the cardiovascular system.

SC.912.L.14.42 Describe the anatomy and the physiology of the lymph system.


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