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Dr. Thomas Dehoux - Mapping drug mechano-sensitivity in tumour spheroids with brillouin light scattering


Thomas Dehoux

Institut Lumière Matière CNRS UMR 5306, Lyon

Mapping drug mechano-sensitivity in tumour spheroids with brillouin light scattering

Despite deeper understanding of cancer metabolism, 90% of experimental drugs fail in clinical studies, mostly due to lack of efficacy. This stems from the lack of predictability of in vitro and in vivo models that are used to design generic drugs at preclinical stages, and from the limited histophysiological clues that can guide clinicians in adapting the generic therapy to each patient. At the same time, it is now well established that the mechanical properties of tumours control their physiology. From a mechanical viewpoint, tumours have a complex structure comparable to sponges soaked with intra- and inter-cellular fluids, where permeability drives resistance to fluid flow and cohesivity dictates the elasticity of the cytoskeletal frame. The role of elasticity and permeability in growth, invasivity and response to drugs is largely unknown due to the lack of characterisation techniques. In this seminar, I will present a novel quantitative, label-free microscopy technique based on Brillouin light scattering (BLS) to decipher the link between the sponge-like mechanical properties and drug efficacy. Through examples using clinically relevant drug therapies on model tumours, I will discuss the possibility of BLS to improve the predictability of in vitro models, and to open new mechano-sensitive therapeutic routes. Furthermore, I will also present our latest investigation of cell monolayers with BLS, and discuss the design of new biologically-derived and biologically-inspired hypersonic materials.

Selected references

  • Abi Ghanem, Dehoux et al. (2018) Opto-acoustic microscopy reveals adhesion mechanics of single cells Rev Sci Instrum 89, 014901
  • Virgone-Carlotta et al. (2017) In-depth phenotypic characterization of multicellular tumor spheroids: Effects of 5-Fluorouracil PLOS One 12, 1-18
  • Dehoux et al. (2016) Optical tracking of picosecond coherent phonon pulse focusing inside a sub-micron object Light Sci Appl 5, e16082
  • Legrand et al. (2016) Thermal microscopy of single biological cells Appl Phys Lett 107, 263703
  • Gadalla, Dehoux & Audoin (2014) Transverse mechanical properties of cell walls of single living plant cells probed by laser-generated acoustic waves Planta 239, 1129



Contact: Géraldine Gasc ( & Marie-Pierre Rols (

Note for visitors: Please come with a valid identity card


21 Jun

11:00 - 12:00

Seminar room - IPBS - Campus 205