How Cancer Cells Spread And Squeeze Through Tiny Blood Vessels
Posted by LFCT
The spread of cancer from a tumor’s original location to other parts of the body can play a major role in whether the disease turns deadly. Many steps in this process, called metastasis, remain murky. But now scientists are gaining new insights into how cancer cells might squeeze through and even divide within narrow blood vessels while travelling in the body. They report their study using microtubular nanomembranes in the journal ACS Nano.
One thing scientists do know about metastasis is that spreading cancer cells elongate to fit through capillaries — blood vessels as fine as spider silk. They can get trapped in these skinny passages, but despite becoming misshapen, they seem to still be able to divide and form little colonies of cells before dislodging and moving on. If scientists could better understand this process, they could potentially improve anti-metastatic treatment strategies. But studying it in molecular detail is not possible with conventional analytical techniques. So Wang Xi, Christine K. Schmidt and colleagues used transparent, rolled-up nanofilms to study how cancer cells divide in capillaries.
The researchers trapped live cancer cells in the tubular membranes and, with optical high- and super-resolution microscopy, could see how the cells adapted to the confined environment. Cell structures significantly changed in the nanomembranes, but it appeared that membrane blebbing — the formation of bulges — at the cells’ tips helped keep genetic material stable, an important requirement for healthy cell division. The researchers say their technique could be a useful tool for further investigating metastatic cancer.
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About LFCTThis is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info
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