Engineered Fibrotic Microenvironments with Heterogeneous Spatial Organization for In Vitro Disease Modeling Public
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Fibrosis is pathological wound healing where sustained epithelial cell damage causes an overgrowth of connective tissue. This process leads to excessive tissue remodeling and scarring that can lead to total organ failure in the worst cases. Approximately 360,000 fibrosis-related cases arise in the U.S. alone, and about 54,000 of those cases occur in pancreatic cancer. Current in vitro models of fibrosis often lack the spatial heterogeneity observed in the tissue microstructure (e.g., fibril density, fibril alignment) that influences certain cell behaviors. The team was tasked with creating a 3D in vitro extracellular matrix with heterogeneous fibril density, alignment, and interstitial spacing that could be used for a pancreatic tumor model.
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