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Einstein researchers develop a new way to study how breast cancer spreads
Date:11/12/2008

ntaining a small glass window onto the breast tumor of a mouse formed from cancerous cells that have a specific tag. Through the glass, individual breast tumor cells are targeted with a laser that 'marks' the cancer cells red. By viewing the cells through the window using a microscope, researchers can follow the cells as they spread. The mouse can move around and live normally with the glass plate and then be anesthetized briefly for observance under the microscope. The marked cancer cells are followed over a period of days until they lose their brightness.

Using this technique, investigators found that breast cancer cells closer to blood vessels were more aggressive and directed in their invasiveness than cancer cells farther from blood vessels. The cancer cells near blood vessels also appeared in the lung indicating that they are disseminated throughout the body.

As co-lead author, Bojana Gligorijevic Ph.D., explained, "Our work showed how important the microenvironment of a tumor is to the behavior of a cancer cell and the metastatic outcome of the tumor itself. We can now look at the early steps of metastasis in high resolution and specific regions of the tumor."

This finding marks the first time a direct link was shown between the presence of blood vessels and the invasive ability of a cancer cell, which strengthens the growing theory that blood supply is crucial to effective metastasis. It also suggests that many cancer therapies currently in development, which are directed at cutting off blood supply to tumors, may be on the right track.

The research was conducted by Dmitriy Kedrin, Bojana Gligorijevic, Ph.D. and team leader Jacco van Rheenen, Ph.D. under the direction of Drs. Segall and Condeelis. Vladislav Verkhusha, Ph.D., associate professor of anatomy and structural biology, and Jeffrey Wyckoff, M.F.A., B.S., senior associate of anatomy and structural biology, both members of the Biophotonics Center, contributed nove
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Contact: Michael Heller
mheller@aecom.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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