Good News In The War Against The Cancers
Some very interesting progress has been made in this long battle to defeat the forces of Cancer.
Researchers at the UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have put the squeeze — literally — on malignant mammary cells to guide them back into a normal growth pattern.
“We are showing that tissue organization is sensitive to mechanical inputs from the environment at the beginning stages of growth and development,” said principal investigator Daniel Fletcher, professor of bioengineering at Berkeley and faculty scientist at the Berkeley Lab. “An early signal, in the form of compression, appears to get these malignant cells back on the right track.”
The latest work from Fletcher’s lab, in collaboration with Bissell’s lab, takes a major step forward by introducing the concept of mechanical rather than chemical influences on cancer cell growth. Gautham Venugopalan, a member of Fletcher’s lab, conducted the new experiments as part of his recently completed Ph.D. dissertation at UC Berkeley.
“People have known for centuries that physical force can influence our bodies,” said Venugopalan. “When we lift weights, our muscles get bigger. The force of gravity is essential to keeping our bones strong. Here we show that physical force can play a role in the growth — and reversion — of cancer cells.”
It should be noted that the researchers are not proposing the development of compression bras as a treatment for breast cancer. “Compression, in and of itself, is not likely to be a therapy,” said Fletcher. “But this does give us new clues to track down the molecules and structures that could eventually be targeted for therapies.”
Let us hope that such research will not be halted once Obamacare has fully engulfed us and funding for such studies is stopped for monetary reasons.