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Researchers Stop ‘Sneaky’ Cancer Cells in Their Tracks

A new study by University of Minnesota biomedical engineers shows how they stopped cancer cells from moving and spreading, even when the cells changed their movements. The discovery could have a major impact on millions of people undergoing therapies to prevent the spread of cancer within the body.

The research is published today in Nature Communications, a leading research journal.

Researchers have known for years that tumors have patterns that are like little “highways” that cancer cells use to move within the tumors and ultimately toward blood vessels and adjacent tissue to invade the body. Patients who have high numbers of these patterns in their tumors have a lower chance of surviving the cancer.

What the researchers haven’t been able to figure out until now is how the cells recognize these patterns and move along them.

In this study, the University of Minnesota team examined in the lab how breast cancer cells moved and used medicines to try to stop the cells. When they stopped the mechanisms that serve as the motor of the cells, the cells surprisingly changed the way they moved to an oozing-like motion, almost like a blob.

“Cancer cells are very sneaky,” said senior author Paolo Provenzano, a University of Minnesota biomedical engineering associate professor and a Masonic Cancer Center researcher. “We didn’t expect the cells to change their movement.

 

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Source: Medical Xpress