Featured Science and Innovations
A tissue-engineering approach to breast cancer therapy
Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, of the Children's Hospital Boston Vascular Biology Program, recently won the DoD Breast Cancer Innovator Award to investigate the use of tissue engineering to treat breast cancer--an approach that, if it proves to work, could transform the cancer field. Past observations suggest that exposing a breast cancer to connective tissue from the embryonic mammary gland can "reboot" the cancer and cause it to revert into normal breast tissue. Ingber hopes to identify the specific chemical, genetic and physical cues these embryonic tissues give off, and develop engineered materials that do the same. When a tumor is excised surgically, such materials could be implanted at the site to induce any remaining cancer cells to stop growing and revert into normal tissue. Ingber's long-term vision is to create injectable materials that could travel to primary and metastatic tumor sites and promote cancer reversal without the toxicity of conventional anti-cancer agents.