- By Dana Sparks
Shape-Shifting Stops Migrating Cancer Cells
Like a car with a front and back end, a steering mechanism and an engine to push it forward, cancer cells propel themselves through normal tissues and organs to spread cancer throughout the body. Researchers at Mayo Clinic in Florida, however, have managed to turn these cells into shapes like a round fried egg and an exaggerated starfish that sticks out in many directions — both of which are unable to move.
In research is published in the December issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology, investigators reveal how interplay of molecules keeps cancer cells moving forward, and how disturbing the balance of these proteins pushes their shape to change, stopping them in their tracks.
Lead investigator of the study and chair of the Department of Cancer Biology in Florida., Panos Anastasiadis, Ph.D., says,“We are starting to understand mechanistically how cancer cells move and migrate, which gives us opportunities to manipulate these cells, alter their shape, and stop their spread. It is the spread — the metastasis — of cancer that is largely responsible for the death of cancer patients, so stopping these cells from migrating could potentially provide a treatment that saves lives.”
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