Double duty may be in store for scaffolds originally designed to grow tissue for implantation. The porous polymer structures have now been found to mimic the environment in which Ewing's sarcoma cells develop. The discovery by researchers at Rice University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York holds the potential to "engineering tumors that mimic those in vivo" and thus accelerate testing of cancer therapies, said Antonios Mikos, a bioengineer at Rice.

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