The FET Proactive project MECHANO_CONTROL is investigating how external mechanical forces affect biological processes, including tumor growth. This project could open up new avenues for cancer research.

Picture of breast cancer cells

Mechanical forces transmitted through specific molecular bonds drive biological function, and their understanding and control hold an uncharted potential in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterial design.

Unfortunately, this potential has not been realised yet, as it requires integrating different technologies to measure these mechanical forces from the nanometer to meter scales.

The FET Proactive MECHANO_CONTROL  wants to address this challenge by building an interdisciplinary research community with the aim of understanding and controlling cellular mechanics from the molecular to the organism scale. Please visit the project website and watch the video explaining what the project is about.

MECHANO_CONTROL started January 2017 and will run until the end of 2021. The project is led by Dr Pere Roca-Cusachs from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Spain and six other partners emcompasing expertise in all levels of function from molecules to organ, mechanics of biolgical function and oncololy.

Furthermore, Noviocell and MindtheByte are two young, small companies in the consortium working on commercial applications in two key aspects of the project: soft gels for cell and tissue culture, and inhibitory drugs targeting specific molecular interactions. Their contribution will be essential in exploiting the potential applications of the project in breast cancer.

In this article we can read on the project's motivation and objectives, including a reference to a posterior sister TALVIN project (from the FET Innovation Launchpad scheme) that aims to develop a drug specifically for pancreatic cancer.