Squeeze breasts to fight cancer?

Squeeze breasts to fight cancer?

EUGENE, Ore. - Manually squeezing cancer cells in a woman's breasts can stop out-of-control growth, a finding researchers hope will lead to new therapies for breast cancer.

A study by researchers at UC Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says squeezing malignant cells in breasts can help stop out-of-control growth. 

“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.”

"While the traditional view of cancer development focuses on the genetic mutations within the cell, Mina Bissell, Distinguished Scientist at the Berkeley Lab, conducted pioneering experiments that showed that a malignant cell is not doomed to become a tumor, but that its fate is dependent on its interaction with the surrounding microenvironment," writes Sarah Yang with UC Berkeley media relations. "Her experiments showed that manipulation of this environment, through the introduction of biochemical inhibitors, could tame mutated mammary cells into behaving normally."

Cellular biologists say actual force on a malignant mammary cell can revert the cell back to normal growth. 

Typically the cells grow and rotate according to a woman's reproductive cycle, but breast cancer cells continue to grow irregularly and do not rotate; by physically putting pressure on the cancerous cells, the study says they revert back to their old growth pattern. 

While the studies don't say that breast cancer is eliminated, it is giving researchers an insight into new cellular therapies.