Claire Villette

Postdoc Researcher

BOOST: stimulating BOne remOdelling against metaSTasis

  • Mechanobiology
  • Bone remodelling
  • Biomechanics
  • Cancer treatments (primary and metastases)
  • In-silico modelling (agent-based, finite element)
  • In-vitro disease models

Bone metastases (BMs) are among the most debilitating complications for cancer patients. They are associated with poor prognosis and are often incurable. BMs develop through cancer-induced perturbation of the inherent bone remodelling process, which is responsible for healthy bone integrity through balanced resorption of old/damaged bone and formation of new tissue. Osteolytic BMs interfere with this balance in a vicious cycle whereby cancer cells favour bone resorption. Growth factors are released from the degraded matrix and enhance tumour growth, which in turn intensifies bone resorption. Mechanical loading naturally induces an opposite shift to the remodelling balance by stimulating bone apposition.  The BOOST project aims to identify regimes of mechanical stimulation susceptible to drive the inherent bone remodelling mechanism into countering osteolytic metastasis progression. To this end, a dual computational and experimental tissue engineering platform will be developed to capture the influence of external mechanical loading on bone and cancer cell interactions in vitro. The computational framework will model local mechanical stimulation resulting from external loading and capture steady-state and load-induced bone remodelling in vitro in the presence of cancer cells. It will be used to screen for the optimal anti-metastasis loading conditions (type, amplitude, timing). Their therapeutic benefit will be confirmed experimentally using the counterpart in vitro set-up.

  • PhD in Computational Biomechanics, Imperial College London (UK).
    Thesis title: Structural Meso and Microscale Finite Element Based Approaches for the Prediction of Bone Architecture and Fracture. Supervisor: Dr Andrew Phillips.
  • MSc in Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London (UK).
    Dissertation title: The Influence of Speed on Scapula Kinematics.
  • Engineering Diploma, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Saint-Etienne (Fr).
    Majors in Numerical Methods and Biomedical Engineering.
  • Preparatory School in Theoretical Maths and Physics (MPSI-MP), Lycee Louis-Le-Grand (Paris, Fr).