In 2020, Nia et al. published in the journal Science a review entitled ‘Physical traits of cancer‘. In this article, the authors proposed 4 distinct physical traits of cancer linked to the biomechanical abnormalities observed in tumoral tissues :

  • an enhanced solid stress (compression and tension), i.e. the mechanical forces in and from solid and elastic elements of the extracellular matrix (ECM) and cells
  • an elevated interstitial fluid pressure, because of hyperpermeable blood vessels and compression of vessels (both blood and lymphatic)
  • an increased stiffness (or elasticity, as an intrinsic material feature of the tissue), linked to an increased deposition and cross-linking of ECM components
  • modified tissue architecture and cell shape
Figure: The 4 physical traits of cancer, as described by Nia et al. 2020

These features show that not only biological paramaters are at stake in cancer initiation/progression, but that the tumor microenvironment is also characterized by crucial physical abnormalities. These traits are the results of interactions between the tumor and the stroma, and should be carefully looked at for research purposes and the search for new treatment modalities.

In this context, it will be crucial in the future to decipher all the mechanisms that are at stake in cancer progression from a physical point of vue, which will require the development of new tools in the field. Also, the in vivo and in vitro models used in cancer research should be improved, to properly reproduce and study the physics of tumor tissues and their changes along the cancer progression.

We know that BIOMIMESYS hydroscaffold can help to create relevant in vitro cancer models by mastering the matrix stiffness over a large range (from <1kPa to more than 15 kPa) , in a ready-to-use format. Please feel free to learn more on our website, or to contact us at We would be more than happy to allow advances in anti-cancer research!

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Happy New Year from the entire HCS Pharma team! - HCS Pharma · January 27, 2022 at 3:10 pm

[…] expand the use of BIOMIMESYS©, our innovation 3D cell culture technology, in several domains like cancer treatments or neurodegenerative diseases studies. We also worked hard to develop the company in Asia with our […]

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