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Microscopic cells race to victory in first World Cell Race at ASCB meeting
Date:12/2/2011

cells to move autonomously--is critical to understanding how cancer metastasizes. Cell movement is also vital to normal biology including embryonic development and human growth. Thry says that the World Cell Race was a way to mix the fun of a scientific sporting event with serious research into how speed reflects the nature of certain cells.

The results of the race were announced in Denver as the climax of an ASCB Special Interest Subgroup titled, "Mechanisms for Rapid Cell Migration." More information on cell mobility can be found at: http://www.ascb.org/meetings/subgroup/subgroup.cfm#I

Finishing second and third place were cell lines provided by Odile Filhol-Cochet, PhD, of iRTSV/CEA in France. The second place winners were "wild type" normal mammary breast epithelial cells, clocked along the 400 micron track at 3.2 microns per minute. Third place award went to a cell culture of these mammary epithelial cells altered in the lab with a knocked-down casein kinase 2 and an overactive Ras pathway. The re-engineered cells roared down the track at 2.7 microns per minute.

In fourth place were human keratinocytes cultured from samples taken from patients suffering from Kindler syndrome, a rare genetic skin disorder, entered by Rumena Begum of King's College London, UK. Their speed over 400 microns was 2.5 microns per minute.

The winners will receive a Nikon camera and a World Cell Race medal.

In addition to being enjoyable, the first World Cell Race generated valuable data. "Data analysis revealed an unknown feature of cell migration," says Thry. "Fast cells were persistent⎯they rarely changed the direction of their migration. Slow cells were not persistent. They went back and forth." Correlating the speed of cells to their invasive behavior in cancer, for example, could uncover new approaches to treatment, Thry believes.

If the First World
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Contact: John Fleischman
jfleischman@ascb.org
513-706-0212
American Society for Cell Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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