Navigation Links
Asterix's Roman foes -- Researchers have a better idea of how cancer cells move and grow

This press release is available in French.

Researchers at the University of Montreal's Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) have discovered a new mechanism that allows some cells in our body to move together, in some ways like the tortoise formation used by Roman soldiers depicted in the Asterix series. Collective cell migration is an essential part of our body's growth and defense system, but it is also used by cancerous cells to disseminate efficiently in the body. "We have found a key mechanism that allows cells to coordinate their movement as a group and we believe that this mechanism is used by malignant cells in a number of cancers, including some types of breast, prostate and skin cancers" explained lead researcher Gregory Emery. Roman soldiers formed the tortoise, or testudo formation, by coming closely together and aligning their shields side-by-side in order to defend themselves as they broke their enemy lines.

"As for the Romans, if some cancerous cells are migrating efficiently, it is because their movements are tightly coordinated. To stop their progression, we have first to understand how they coordinate. Then, we will aim at blocking this coordination in cancer cells to abrogate cancer progression."

IRIC's scientists and their colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, USA studied the movement of the "border-cells" in the ovaries of fruit flies, a biological process that is well understood by scientists and that they can reproduce easily. Researchers often use these kinds of cells as a model to get insight into metastatic cell migration the process by which malignant cells leave the original tumor as they can be easily manipulated and observed. Researchers look at how chemicals known as proteins that our body produces influence what goes on in cells. In this study for instance, the researchers from IRIC were able to aim a laser with sufficient precision to activate or inactivate an engineered protein in a single living cell, and observe directly the consequences of these alterations.

They found that a protein known as Rab11 enables individual cells to sense what the others are doing and organize into a tight structure to move together. Rab11 achieves this by regulating another protein, called Moesin which is involved in controlling the shape and rigidity of cells. Reducing the level of Moesin reduces the cohesion of the cluster and impedes cell movement. "Here, we have identified a mechanism by which the cells share information to coordinate movements. By disrupting this mechanism, we are able to block their migration." Dr Emery explained.

Although the findings were in a specific kind of cells in an insect model, the proteins involved, Rab11 and Moesin, have already been shown to play a role in some human cancers. "This indicates that the new regulatory mechanism we identified in fly cells is most likely also important in human cancers," Dr. Emery said. "Our work will allow us to identify molecular targets to disrupt collective cell migration and hopefully to fight metastasis formation" he concludes.


Contact: William Raillant-Clark
University of Montreal

Related biology news :

1. The worlds most sensitive plasmon resonance sensor inspired by ancient Roman cup
2. Valentines Day tales of romance and chemistry
3. Ovarian tumor, with teeth and a bone fragment inside, found in a Roman-age skeleton
4. Impulsive micromanagers help plants to adapt, survive
5. Romancing the firefly
6. Researchers find alternative cholesterol-lowering drug for patients who cant tolerate statins
7. Researchers develop tools for discovering new species
8. University of Illinois researchers develop AFM-IR for nanometer scale chemical identification
9. IRB Barcelona researchers discover mechanism that regulates steroid hormone production in Drosophila
10. Researchers discover gateway in nucleus has a second important job no one noticed before
11. Researchers explain a key developmental mechanism for the first time in plants
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Asterix's Roman foes -- Researchers have a better idea of how cancer cells move and grow
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome ... has secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon ... ramp up automation and to advance its drug development ... its new facility. "SVB has been an ... beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," said ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: