Acta Mechanica Sinica

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 268–273 | Cite as

Cell biomechanics and its applications in human disease diagnosis

  • Yasaman Nematbakhsh
  • Chwee Teck LimEmail author
Review Paper


Certain diseases are known to cause changes in the physical and biomechanical properties of cells. These include cancer, malaria, and sickle cell anemia among others. Typically, such physical property changes can result in several fold increases or decreases in cell stiffness, which are significant and can result in severe pathology and eventual catastrophic breakdown of the bodily functions. While there are developed biochemical and biological assays to detect the onset or presence of diseases, there is always a need to develop more rapid, precise, and sensitive methods to detect and diagnose diseases. Biomechanical property changes can play a significant role in this regard. As such, research into disease biomechanics can not only give us an in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms underlying disease progression, but can also serve as a powerful tool for detection and diagnosis. This article provides some insights into opportunities for how significant changes in cellular mechanical properties during onset or progression of a disease can be utilized as useful means for detection and diagnosis. We will also showcase several technologies that have already been developed to perform such detection and diagnosis.


Biophysical properties Cancer Malaria  Cell enrichment  Phenotyping Diagnostic tool Mechanopathology Cell separation and capture 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics; Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and EngineeringSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  4. 4.Mechanobiology InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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