Perturbations in cell-substrate and cell-cell interactions can lead to tumor growth and metastasis. To study and validate the mechanisms involved in sustaining these changes, it is important to assess these factors reliably and accurately. Here, we present a novel method to create a polyacrylamide hydrogel with micron sized stiff regions incorporated within moderately stiff gel to mimic initial changes in tissue stiffness. Through this process, hydrogels with uniform thickness, smooth surface, and customizable stiff regions can be made to investigate cellular response to changes in substrate stiffness. Our system can be a valuable tool to study if and how cells within the tumor foci interact and influence cells in the surrounding normal tissue.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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