Cancer metastasis occurs when cancerous cells grow into malignant tumors and eventually traverse to regions beyond their origin. These malignant cells often travel via the vasculature of the body, and they find ways to cross multi-cellular barriers between organs. When healthy cells detect cancer cells in fluid and/or organs, they can elicit physiological responses that aid or fight further infection.
To understand the stages of tumor progression to metastasis of cancerous cells, platforms that simulate physiological fluid flow are necessary to observe how these cells reach other organs and what effects their presence may signal in these organs. In addition, when cancer growths progress to tumors, they require three-dimensional microenvironments. Microfluidic devices address these conditions, allowing the study of metastasizing cancer cells as they flow from the original tumor site to various organs.