By Mike Martin for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
To the much-studied genetic and biochemical forces that govern cell growth, dysplasia, and metastasis, a burgeoning science—call it mechanical biology—is adding forces that might seem more applicable to airliners and skyscrapers. Shear, friction, stress, tension, and viscosity also play a role in oncogenesis, according to researchers exploring this interface between biology and physics.
"To grow, a tumor must, most of the time, push normal tissue out of its natural position," said Jacques Prost, Ph.D., of the Curie Institute in Paris, a leader in the physical sciences research department where Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium and Paul Langevin discovered sonar. "Mechanical forces are at work, hence the necessity of investigating their importance."