Women who like to have their br**sts squeezed will now possibly gain a health benefit, according to new research released last week.
According to researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, putting mechanical force on malignant brȩ̂ast cells can reverse their irregular growth process and put them back on track for a normal growth pattern.
“We are showing that tissue organization is sensitive to mechanical environmental inputs in the early stages of growth and development,” Daniel Fletcher, a professor of bio-engineering at Berkeley, a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab and principal investigator of the study said.
Brȩ̂ast tissue grows, decreases and changes throughout the lifetime of a woman in a structured pattern and eventually stop growing at some point. Brȩ̂ast cancer is often characterized by a break in the normal growth pattern, causing the brȩ̂ast cancer cells to grow irregularly.
Through a previous experiment at the Berkeley Laboratory, researchers showed that it was possible to prevent these malignant cells from transforming into tumors by manipulating the cells surrounding environment through the use of biochemical inhibitors. Ultimately surrounding healthy cells could persuade cancer cells to grow normally.
The latest work of Berkeley Lab uses the same concept, but instead introduces mechanical inhibitors. The researchers cultured malignant brȩ̂ast epithelial cells in a gel substance that is injected into the chambers of flexible silicone.
Force is then applied to the silicon through time, and ultimately it was observed that malignant cells grew into more healthy-looking cells. Time-lapse microscopy showed the change in the cells of the compressed brȩ̂ast over time.
The results of the research were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, California