TO THICKENED, STIFF, AND DENSE TISSUE
The study (Stromal Cell-Laden 3D Hydrogel Microwell Arrays as Tumor Microenvironment Model for Studying Stiffness Dependent Stromal Cell-Cancer Interactions), from July’s issue of Biomaterials showed that when it comes to BREAST CANCER, the stiffness of the ECM (extracellular matrix — the substances secreted by surrounding cells to provide both structural and biochemical support to a particular tissue) matters. INFLAMMATION always leads to fibrosis / scar tissue (HERE), and as shocking as it may seem to the average person, the thickened ECM found in fibrotic tissue is the number one cause of death on the planet (HERE & HERE). I’ve also shown you that thickened or “densified” connective tissues (fascia in particular) are a serious problems as well (HERE and HERE), whose consequences go far beyond chronic pain (HERE). With this as our backdrop, let’s take a look at the study’s abstract.
“Tumor properties such as growth and metastasis are dramatically dependent on the tumor microenvironment. However, the diversity of the tumor microenvironment including the stiffness and the composition of the extracellular matrix (ECM), as well as the involvement of stromal cells, makes it extremely difficult to establish proper models for studying tumor growth and metastasis. Our results showed that, tumor spheroids closely interacted with the pre-adipocyte stromal cells encapsulated within the microwell array, influencing their differentiation and maturation degree in a stiffness related manner. They inhibited adipogenesis in high stiffness tissue constructs that were at breast cancer stiffness range, while the inhibition effect diminished in the low stiffness tissue constructs that were at normal human breast tissue range. Furthermore, the 3D structure of tumor spheroids was shown to be important for the inhibition of the adipogenesis, as conditioned media from monolayer culture of cancer cells did not show any significant effect. These results show, for the first time in literature, that stromal-cancer interactions are highly dependent on ECM stiffness.”
Hold on and I’ll show you what’s going on here. The team, lead by Dr Pinar Zorlutuna (a professor in ND’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and the Harper Cancer Research Institute), created a sort of scaffolding system for cells to grown on, which had a “tuneable stiffness” so that the authors could grow their cell cultures at both normal stiffness as well as the stiffness of cancer (hundreds of times stiffer). The breast, which is made up mostly of ADIPOSE (fat), COLLAGEN, and EPITHELIAL CELLS, is known to develop cancer mostly in the epithelial layer. It’s a well-known fact that cancer cells are stiff and dense compared to surrounding tissues, but in this study the reverse was also true — that stiffer tissue led to increased cancer growth. In other words, stiff, dense tissue fueled cancer. In the study’s press release, Dr. Z stated, “If you have a stiffer environment, the cancer cell can do more manipulation of its immediate microenvironment.”
Why should you care? Because when it comes to diet we know at least a couple relevant facts. Firstly, as I already mentioned, sugar and junk carbs cause tissue to become less elastic and thicker. Secondly, the kind of fats you consume is of critical importance as well. For instance, the primary property that makes TRANS FATS so dangerous is the fact that they create stupid cell membranes (see link). Instead of cell membranes that are supple and wavy, Trans Fats make them rigid and inflexible, with the end result being an intimate relationship to any number of diseases and chronic pain syndromes. Not surprisingly, obesity has been heavily linked to cancer as well (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). If you want to learn about which fats to eat and which to avoid, HERE and HERE are the links.
And for those of you struggling with chronic health issues, including problems with your weight, Gut Health, chronic pain, or any number of others, I’ve given you some tools to start addressing the underlying causes (HERE). If you find our site interesting and know of people who could benefit from the free information, reaching those you love and care about most is as easy as dropping them a link or liking, sharing, or following on FACEBOOK.