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Stopping tumor cell movement halts cancer spread

Using tumor-like microenvironments, scientists stopped cancer cells from spreading, even after the cells had switched to a different way of moving.

New insights into how tumor cells move could greatly assist in developing treatments to prevent the spread of cancer.
Cancer cells are ‘sneaky,’ but researchers have outsmarted them.

Using an experimental model, scientists from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis stopped cancer cells from spreading, even after the cells had altered their mode of movement.

The chances of eliminating cancer are much higher if the disease has not spread beyond the primary tumor.

Around 90 percent of cancer-related deaths occur because of metastasis, or the ability of tumors to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body.

A treatment that stopped the movement of cancer cells would greatly improve survival rates, by giving doctors more time to deal with the primary tumor.

The new study, featured in the journal Nature Communications, could mark a big step toward this achievement.

‘Cancer cells are very sneaky’

The researchers set up laboratory versions of a tumor environment and observed how breast cancer cells moved through them.

Using drugs, they tried to stop the cells by disrupting the mechanisms that serve as motors, generating the forces for movement.

To the scientists’ surprise, the cells switched to a completely different way of moving, causing them to resemble “oozing” blobs.

Read on: Stopping tumor cell movement halts cancer spread

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