Cancer Cells Thrive in Stiff Tissue, According to New Study
Stiffer breast tissue creates an environment more prone to cancer by enabling the disease to interfere with the surrounding healthy cells, according to a recent study published in Biomaterials.
Scientists studying tumor growth and metastasis at the University of Notre Dame fabricated a human tissue model to examine how cancer cells interact with connective tissue in the breast. The model allowed the team to control the stiffness of the tissue, mimicking both healthy and cancerous breast tissue structures. They found manipulation of fat cells to be stiffness-dependent.
“One of the interesting things we’re looking at is how cancer interacts with surrounding cells and how it manipulates those cells to its own benefit,” said Pinar Zorlutuna, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Harper Cancer Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame. “The goal of these tissue engineered cancer models is to mimic the physiological environment of the tumor, so we can use them as a platform to study breast cancer in the human tissue microenvironment.”
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May 4, 2018