Investigation of cancer growth is a heavily researched subject, one which a multitude of research labs focus on. Until about the 1970s, most of these researchers studied only biochemical cues of cancers to develop drugs and modalities of treatment. However, with the advent of advanced imaging and measurement techniques, the biophysical and mechanical cues have been proven to play important roles in cancer growth. They hold great potential to un-ravel the mysteries of cancer in the future.
Professor Otger Campas has developed a method using micrometer scale droplets to measure the anisotropic mechanical stress component of a developing organism in-vivo. Interns cultured three dimensional aggregates of breast cancer cells and used the afore-mentioned droplet technique to measure the mechanical properties and anisotropic stress components while the tumor grows and develops. This research will provide novel insight into the mechanical transitions that occur inside such aggregates and may have important therapeutic value.