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Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs
Date:8/7/2014

cells "woke up" and began to multiply and spread.

Wang speculates that these properties of dormancy and reawakening when the mechanical environment is more inviting may explain why soft tissues, such as the brain or lungs, are most vulnerable to metastasis.

"We have many different types of organs where solid tumors originate, but if you look at the metastasized sites, the majority are in soft tissues," said Wang. "Brain, lung, liver and bone marrow, all soft. So it may not be coincidence. We need to do more research."

Next, Wang and colleagues hope to tackle the question of what makes TRCs so resistant to drugs, a trait that makes recurrent cancer much harder to treat. Unlocking this puzzle may help doctors fight recurrent cancer, although Wang hopes that understanding how TRCs work can lead to treatments that prevent metastasis in the first place.

"The key issue in this paper is outlining the mechanisms that control how TRCs proliferate," Wang said. "The importance of knowing these mechanisms is that we now have targets that we didn't have before, specific targets for new types of drugs that will interfere with this renewal pathway. It could give us a new avenue for treatment and preventing relapse."


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Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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