September 1, 2018: A study by the University of California in Berkeley, United States has revealed that squeezing of female breasts may be all that it takes to prevent malignant cells that trigger cancer from forming.
Laboratory experiments showed that applying physical pressure to the cells guided them back to a normal growth pattern.
Scientists do not envisage fighting breast cancer with a new range of compression bras, but they believe the research provides clues that could lead to new treatments.
According to Dr. Gautham Venugopalan, a leading member of the research team at the University, “people have known for centuries that physical force can influence our bodies.
“When we lift weights our muscles get bigger. The force of gravity is essential to keeping our bones strong. Here we show that physical force can play a role in the growth – and reversion of cancer cells.
“Malignant cells have not completely forgotten how to be healthy; they just need the right cues to guide them back to a healthy growth pattern,”
He said the study involved growing malignant breast epithelial cells within a gel injected into flexible silicone chambers.
This, he added, allowed the scientists to apply compression during the first stages of cell growth, effectively squashing the cells.
Over time, the squeezed malignant cells began to grow in a more normal and organised way.
Once the breast tissue structure was formed, the cells stopped growing, even when the compressive force was removed. Non-compressed cells continued to display the haphazard and uncontrolled growth that leads to cancer.