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Berkeley scientists find new way to get physical in the fight against cancer
Date:3/11/2010

h a combination of Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF), reflection interference and epifluorescence imaging techniques.

"Without the barriers, the clusters of EphA2/ephrin-A1 signaling complexes were transported to the center of the cellsupported membrane junction, but with the barriers in place, there was an accumulation of clusters at the barrier boundaries," Groves says. "This resulted in a spatial reorganization that altered the cell's biochemical behavior."

Quantitative analysis of these changes to the spatial organization of the EphA2/ephrin-A1 signaling complexes across the library of breast cancer cell lines revealed a strong correlation with the potential for metastasis. Since the patterned metal lines in the silica substrate are analogous to the stiffness, texture and other elastic and mechanical properties of tissue, as well as to internal structures within the cell membrane, the results of this study point to intriguing new possibilities for breast and other cancer therapies.

"It's possible that the force-sensing process itself could provide a target for therapeutic intervention," says Groves. "We're also excited about finding targets for which there may be drugs that have already been developed but are now being used to treat diseases other than cancer. Given the sensitivity to mechanical forces displayed by the EphA2/ephrin-A1 signaling complexes, it is possible these existing drugs could be redirected to the treatment of cancer."


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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