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Collagen-Laponite Nanoclay Hydrogels for Tumor Spheroid Growth


  • Pilar Alamán-Díez University of Zaragoza
  • Carlos Borau-Zamora Centro Universitario de la Defensa
  • Pedro Enrique Guerrero University of Zaragoza
  • Hippolyte Amaveda University of Zaragoza
  • Mario Mora University of Zaragoza
  • José María Fraile University of Zaragoza
  • Elena Garcia-Gareta University of Zaragoza
  • José Manuel García-Aznar University of Zaragoza
  • María Ángeles Pérez University of Zaragoza



The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays an important regulatory role in the development and progression of tumoral tissue. Its functions and properties are crucial in determining tumor cell behavior such as invasion, migration, and malignancy development. Our study explores the role of collagen type I in cancer development and spread using engineered tumor models like multicellular spheroids grown in collagen-based hydrogels to simulate early tumor formation. We employ microfluidic techniques to test the hypothesis that (i) adding Laponite nanoclay to collagen hydrogels modifies mechanical and rheological properties and (ii) changing the stiffness of the collagen microenvironment affects tumor spheroid growth. Our findings support our theories and suggest the use of ECM components and engineered tumor models in cancer research, offering a biocompatible and biomimetic method to tailor the mechanical properties of conventional collagen hydrogels.


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