Evolution of Tumor Heterogeneity
A major determinant of heterogeneity in tumors is the constantly changing mutational landscape of individual cancer cells due to the accumulation of new mutations. Evolution drives cellular diversification and fuels cancer initiation, progression and relapse after therapy. Thus far, cancer evolutionary biology focused on analysis of established malignant populations to infer the genetic and epigenetic evolutionary history. One of the challenges in the field is to determine the rate and extent of genetic alterations per cell cycle of individual cancer cells. Unfortunately, the current research fields of live-cell microscopy and cellular genetics are not connected. With the joint effort of the UMCU (biology) and UT (engineering), we will develop the tools and protocols to track and capture individual cells in a clonal cancer outgrowth for prospective single-cell genetic analysis.