New research explores how cancer cells move and spread.
A research study led by University of Minnesota engineers gives new insight into how cancer cells move based on their ability to sense their environment. The discovery could have a major impact on therapies to prevent the spread of cancer.
The research is published in Nature Communications, a leading research journal.
The researchers found that cells have the ability to sense the stiffness of their environment and their ability to move is dependent upon that environment. These environments range from stiff (bone tissue) to soft (fatty tissue) with a medium stiffness (muscle tissue).
“Cells are a little like the storybook character Goldilocks. They don’t like their environment too hard or too soft—it needs to be just right or they won’t move,” said David Odde, a University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor and Masonic Cancer Center researcher who led the study. “If we can trick cancer cells into believing it is not a good environment for migration, we can prevent the cancer cells from spreading.”
On the flip side, Odde said the same research also could be used to improve regenerative medicine. “With adult stem cell therapy, we want to find the ‘sweet spot’ to encourage the cells to move to the damaged or unhealthy tissue to restore lost function,” Odde said.
Read full article: Research Study Gives New Insight Into How Cancer Spreads
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