Understanding breast cancer development
Bioengineers at UC San Diego have generated new insight into how the stiffening of breast tissue plays a role in breast cancer development. By examining how mammary cells respond in a stiffness-changing hydrogel, they discovered that several pathways work together to promote the transformation of breast cells into cancer cells. The work, published in PNAS, could inspire new approaches to treating patients and inhibiting tumor growth. “By dynamically modulating the stiffness of the microenvironment, we can better mimic what happens during the transformation of breast cells to a malignant state in a dish,” said bioengineering professor Adam Engler.