AUSTIN, TX — Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Chemical Engineering are the first to show that mechanical property changes in cells may be responsible for cancer progression — a discovery that could pave the way for new approaches to predict, treat and prevent cancer.
Postdoctoral student Parag Katira and his adviser, Roger T. Bonnecaze, department chair in the Cockrell School of Engineering and T. Brockett Hudson Professor, worked with Muhammad Zaman of Boston University to devise a 3-D cancer model that shows the softening of cells and changes in cell binding cause cancerous behavior in cells. These mechanical property changes cause cells to divide uncontrollably — making them less likely to die and resulting in malignant tumor growth. The findings present a unique physics-based perspective on understanding cancer progression and were published recently in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Letters. (more…)