Research news

IBEC investigators show that physical forces activate genes involved in cancer

In their effort to shed light on the role that physical forces play in the body, Pere Roca-Cusachs’ group at IBEC has shown how these forces ‘switch on’ the expression of genes that may result in cancer.

Cells apply mechanical forces to their surrounding tissue, and this mechanical effect is crucial for tissue function. In diseases such as cancer or liver and lung fibrosis, tissue rigidity and mechanical forces increase, promoting the progression of the disease.

In their study published in Cell yesterday, IBEC’s researchers reveal how forces trigger the expression of certain genes by increasing the activity of a protein called YAP in the nucleus of the cell.

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Other news

IBEC to launch Faster Future, a new fundraising initiative, on Giving Tuesday

Next week IBEC will launch Faster Future, a new crowdfunding initiative that aims to help accelerate research projects that are close to tackling major challenges in health.

This year, Faster Future will be raising money for a new solution for muscular dystrophy being developed in Javier Ramon’s Biosensors for Bioengineering group. Their ‘muscle-on-a-chip’ will use a patient’s own cells to study myotonic dystrophy type 1, a progressive disability that begins in adulthood and affects 50,000 people in Spain alone.

As well as modelling the patient’s disease in a personalized way, the platform will also allow the study of different drugs or treatments in conditions that mimic the body as closely as possible, as well as offering a more reliable alternative to animal models.

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