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Curing Diseases by Deforming Cells
[ Issue 148 Page 2 ] Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 23:48:09 Tae Soo Kim Staff Reporter kimts96@kaist.ac.kr
     Cells in our bodies are constantly subjected to mechanical forces, which alternately compress and expand them. Unlike the effects of hormones and drugs on cells, the impact of these manipulations are shrouded in mystery. However, researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a tool which could change that. Through their collaboration with biologists from the University of Lausanne, they developed a membrane that stretches when voltage is applied. The cells are cultured in the silicone membrane; the platform is then inserted into a microscope to observe, in high resolution and at realtime, the changes brought about by the mechanical forces on the cells. Several diseases are caused when cells are unable to react appropriately to different forces. Platforms like these will allow scientists to extensively understand why these diseases occur and test which drugs, when administered, can help the cells retain normal function.
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