Inhibition of Metastasis of ‘Sneaky’ Cancer Cells by Biomedical Engineers


As 90% of cancer-related deaths are due to the speedy metastatic ability of cancer cells, the biomedical engineers from the University of Minnesota have halted the movement of cancer cells to other areas in order to buy more time for the physicians to treat the ailment efficiently through other therapies. The researchers studied the patterns possessed by the tumors that are utilized by the cancer cells to move toward blood vessels and invade adjacent tissues. Those patients have fewer chances of survival who have high numbers of these patterns, published in a leading research journal, Nature Communications.

These researchers have finally figured out about the phenomenon of recognition of these patterns and movement along them by the breast cancer cells. They used medicines to stop the cells causing the cells to change their movement pattern to a blob-like motion. Paolo Provenzano, senior author of this study stated that the cancer cells are very sneaky and the change in the movement of cells caused them to change their strategy of simultaneously targeting both types of movements. The cells were stopped in their tracks as if their GPS was destroyed to find the highways.

The cancer cells were studied in two-dimensional, engineered, controlled network microenvironments that sped up the research by mimicking how the cells behave as they do in a tumor and allowing testing of hundreds of cell movement events in hours. The studies will further be extended to animal trials and ultimately to clinical trials in humans. Provenzano said that his research team would find novel ways to inhibit cancer cell movement while boosting immune cell movement to battle cancer.


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