News Release

Tissue growth is influenced by whether local environment is firm or fluid

Research has implications for understanding development of health and cancerous tissues

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

We all know that genes influence how cells and tissues grow and develop, but new research has shed light on the importance of another factor: whether the environment around them is firm like Jell-O or fluid like honey. Researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard University studied the growth patterns of clumps of human breast tissue in hydrogels of differing densities, and found that liquid-like environments caused the tissues to develop and organize themselves differently than more solid environments. This research has important implications for understanding how organs develop, and how cancers might grow differently based on the local microenvironment where they form. The research will be published on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 11:00am ET in Nature Materials

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