Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Physicists, Biologists Unite to Expose How Cancer Spreads

Published: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, May 02, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New study has found that cancer cells that can break out of a tumor are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells.

Cancer cells that can break out of a tumor and invade other organs are more aggressive and nimble than nonmalignant cells, according to a new multi-institutional nationwide study. These cells exert greater force on their environment and can more easily maneuver small spaces.

The researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports that a systematic comparison of metastatic breast-cancer cells to healthy breast cells revealed dramatic differences between the two cell lines in their mechanics, migration, oxygen response, protein production and ability to stick to surfaces.

The researchers discovered new insights into how cells make the transition from nonmalignant to metastatic, a process that is not well understood.

The resulting catalogue of differences could someday help researchers detect cancerous cells earlier and someday prevent or treat metastatic cancer, which is responsible for 90 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the study.

It was conducted by a network of 12 federally funded Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.

PS-OC is a collaboration of researchers in the physical and biological sciences seeking a better understanding of the physical and chemical forces that shape the emergence and behavior of cancer.

"By bringing together different types of experimental expertise to systematically compare metastatic and nonmetastatic cells, we have advanced our knowledge of how metastasis occurs," said Robert Austin, professor of physics and leader of the Princeton PS-OC, along with senior co-investigator Thea Tlsty of the University of California-San Francisco.

Researchers with the Princeton PS-OC, for instance, determined that metastatic cells, in spite of moving more slowly than nonmalignant cells, move farther and in a straighter line, Austin said.

The investigators studied the cells' behavior in tiny cell-sized chambers and channels etched out of silicon and designed to mimic the natural environment of the body's interior.

"The mobility of these metastatic cells is an essential feature of their ability to break through the tough membrane [the extracellular matrix] that the body uses to wall off the tumor from the rest of the body," Austin said. "These cells are essentially jail-breakers."

The tiny silicon chambers were built using Princeton's expertise in microfabrication technology - typically used to create small technologies such as integrated circuits and solar cells - and are an example of the type of expertise that physicists and engineers can bring to cancer research, Austin said.

For the current study, the Princeton team included physics graduate students David Liao and Guillaume Lambert, and postdoctoral researchers Liyu Liu and Saurabh Vyawahare.

They worked closely with a research group led by James Sturm, Princeton's William and Edna Macaleer Professor of Engineering and Applied Science and director of the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) where the microfabrication was done.

The Princeton PS-OC also includes collaborators at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California-Santa Cruz.

The nationwide PS-OC program aims to crack the difficulty of understanding and treating cancer by bringing in researchers from physics, engineering, computer science and chemistry, said Nastaran Zahir Kuhn, program manager for the PS-OC at the National Cancer Institute.

Other notable findings from the paper include that metastatic cells recover more rapidly from the stress of a low-oxygen environment than nonmetastatic cells, which is consistent with previous studies.

Although the low-oxygen environment did kill many of the metastatic cells, the survivors rebounded vigorously, underscoring the likely role of individual cells in the spread of cancer.

The study also looked at total protein production and detected proteins in the metastatic cells that are consistent with the physical properties such as mobility that malignant cells need to invade the extracellular matrix.

"The PS-OC program aims to bring physical sciences tools and perspectives into cancer research," Kuhn said. "The results of this study demonstrate the utility of such an approach, particularly when studies are conducted in a standardized manner from the beginning."

For the nationwide project, nearly 100 investigators from 20 institutions and laboratories conducted their experiments using the same two cell lines, reagents and protocols to assure that results could be compared.

The experimental methods ranged from physical measurements of how the cells push on surrounding cells to measurements of gene and protein expression.

"Roughly 20 techniques were used to study the cell lines, enabling identification of a number of unique relationships between observations," Kuhn said.

For example, a technique known as atomic force microscopy indicated that metastatic cells are softer than nonmalignant cells whereas a different technique, traction force microscopy, suggested that metastatic cells exert more force on their surroundings, Kuhn said.

Together these two findings may indicate that metastatic cells can exert force to stick to, migrate on and remodel the tough extracellular matrix that surrounds the tumor, while remaining flexible enough to squeeze through small spaces in that membrane.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Ice Cores Reveal Decline in Atmospheric Oxygen Over Last 800,000 Years
Researchers have compiled decades of data to produce a record of atmospheric oxygen concentrations.
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Quick, Early Test For Ebola Could Prevent Epidemics
Researchers from Princeton University are collaborating with U.S. government labs to develop a more rapid, accurate and inexpensive test for the Ebola virus with the aim of identifying infections before carriers become symptomatic and contagious.
Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Scoliosis Linked to Disruptions in Spinal Fluid Flow
A new study in zebrafish suggests that irregular fluid flow through the spinal column brought on by gene mutations is linked to a type of scoliosis that can affect humans during adolescence.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Structure of Essential Digestive Enzyme Uncovered
Using a powerful combination of techniques from biophysics to mathematics, researchers have revealed new insights into the mechanism of a liver enzyme that is critical for human health.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Photoredox Catalyst Unlocks New Pathways for Nickel Chemistry
Using a light-activated catalyst, researchers have unlocked a new pathway in nickel chemistry to construct carbon-oxygen (C-O) bonds that would be highly valuable to pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Solving Streptide from Structure to Biosynthesis
Researchers reveal new information about how bacteria communicate via the protein, streptide.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Measles Virus Said to Suppress Immune System for up to Three Years
New research suggests measles can suppress children’s immune systems for up to three years following infection, leaving them susceptible to a host of other deadly diseases.
Monday, May 11, 2015
A Gene That Shaped The Evolution Of Darwin's Finches
Researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden have identified a gene in the Galápagos finches studied by English naturalist Charles Darwin that influences beak shape and that played a role in the birds' evolution from a common ancestor more than 1 million years ago.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
A Single Cell Smashes and Rebuilds Its Own Genome
Life can be so intricate and novel that even a single cell can pack a few surprises, according to a study led by Princeton University researchers.
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Wild Sheep Show Benefits of Putting Up With Parasites
Researchers used 25 years of data on a population of wild sheep living on an island in northwest Scotland to assess the evolutionary importance of infection tolerance.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Collaboration Leads to Possible Shortcut to New Drugs
The reaction, reported in Science, demonstrates how a carboxylic acid can be transformed into a very reactive site through use of a novel photoredox catalyst.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Even if Emissions Stop, Carbon Dioxide Could Warm Earth for Centuries
Study suggests that it might take a lot less carbon than previously thought to reach the global temperature scientists deem unsafe.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Small Bits of Genetic Material Fight Cancer's Spread
A class of molecules called microRNAs may offer cancer patients two ways to combat their disease.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Schmidt Fund Awards to Advance Innovations in Drug Therapy and Search for Planets
Two Princeton University research projects have been selected to receive grants from Princeton's Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Study Casts Light on Deadly Immune Response
Volunteers’ extreme immune response helps create model for immune signals.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Scientific News
Big Genetics in BC: The American Society for Human Genetics 2016 Meeting
Themes at this year's meeting ranged from the verification, validation, and sharing of data, to the translation of laboratory findings into actionable clinical results.
Stem Cells in Drug Discovery
Potential Source of Unlimited Human Test Cells, but Roadblocks Remain.
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Transporting Microscopic Cargo Between Human Cells
Scientists have developed a virus-inspired delivery system for material transport between cells.
Metabolite Promotes Cancer Cell Transformation
Researchers have identified a metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread.
Improving Drug Production with Computer Model
A model has been developed that can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.
Bird Flu Confirmed in the Netherlands
An outbreak of H5 avian influenza was confirmed in the Flevoland province of the Netherlands.
Turning Off Asthma Attacks
Researchers discover a critical cellular “off” switch for the inflammatory immune response that causes asthma attacks.
Zika’s Entry Points
Discovery shows Zika infection of neural progenitor cells occurs regardless of AXL production, which was thought to be the main vector for the virus.
New Strategy May Drop Cancer’s Guard
Scientists eye ways to deconstruct tumors’ protective wall with current diabetes drug.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!