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  Looking into the ‘squishiness’ of cancer cells


Narrator:       This is Science Today. At UCLA, the lab of integrated biologist Amy Rowat is looking into the texture or ‘squishiness' of individual cells and nuclei and gaining new insight into the mechanical properties of various types of cells.

Rowat:            It's interesting on many different levels. Firstly, we're finding that, and other people around the world are also finding, that this matters for disease.  So, cancer cells for example are softer, more flexible than benign cells. And in fact, when treated with different drugs they become stiffer. So, this is a great biomarker to be able to test the efficacy of various treatments. This is important for understanding how we can better understand, treat and detect disease.

Narrator:       At a basic science level, Rowat and her team are trying to figure out what causes these textural changes and the functional role of the mechanical property of cells in the context of cancer.

Rowat:            So, there's still a lot more basic research to be done and that's a major motivation in my lab. 

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.