Discovery Sheds New Light on How Cancer Cells Infect Healthy Tissue
December 13, 2010 5:53 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: McGill University)
Researchers discover non-adhesive protein that allows cancer cells to infect healthy tissue
Researchers at the
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University
have discovered how tumor cells infect healthy tissue, which is a breakthrough that can help prevent cancer cells from spreading.
Dr. Deborah Maret, lead author of the study and research associate at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, along with Dr. David Colman, co-author of the study and director at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, co-author of the study and director of The Brain Tumour Research Centre, have found that a certain protein which "glues" cells together has a non-adhesive version of itself that exists on tumor cells,
allowing cancer cells to break apart
and spread to healthy tissue.
These certain proteins are called cadherins, and they reside on the surface of cells. They bind cells together, kind of like glue, in order to hold tissue structures together properly. Prior to this study, it was not clear what happened to cells and the adhesive cadherins in tumor growth and metastases.
"We were concerned that previous research showed that N-cadherin, an adhesive molecule, was important for both normal tissue organization, as well as tumor metastases," said Colman. "We therefore decided to further investigate this apparent paradox."
What they found was a non-adhesive version of N-cadherin, which is called proNcad. It exists only on tumor cells, but is seen in much higher numbers on the more aggressive melanoma, brain tumor cells,
and prostate tumor cells.
"It appears that although total N-cadherin levels remain constant, the higher levels of the non-adhesive proNcad promote detachment,
tumor cell migration
and invasion," said Maret. "This supports an overall conclusion that non-adhesive [proNcad] and adhesive [Ncad] forms of cadherins co-exist on tumor cell surfaces, but it is the ratio between these functionally opposite molecules that directly dictates the invasion potential of tumor cells."
N-cadherin is not a new discovery, but because the differences between Ncad and proNcad are so minuscule, previous studies on the matter just assumed all Ncad's on tumor cell surfaces were adhesive. This latest study from the researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital is unique because it has recognized that there are non-adhesive cadherins as well, which allows tumor cells to detach from other cells and infect healthy tissue.
The next step in this research is to measure the ratios of proNcad and Ncad on cell surfaces, which could help researchers develop diagnostic tools that can help prevent cancer cells from spreading.
"As a brain tumor surgeon, I know that stopping cancer cells from migrating is critical for patient survival," said Del Maestro. "We are determined to improve
for patients. We have already introduced new neurosurgical methods and technologies that are unique in North America and are spearheading multidisciplinary initiatives to advance brain tumor research."
was published in the journal
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/14/2010 5:31:18 PM
This is big. I've done a bit of oncological research in my day, and I can tell you the biggest problem has been finding a single identifiable antigen that cancer cells possess, so researchers have something specific to target. You'd be surprised how ambiguous aberrant glycocalyx expression is. This has huge potential.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
New Tissue-imaging Technique Faster, More Accurate than Biopsies
November 29, 2010, 7:08 AM
Researchers Kill Cancerous Tissue with Hyperthermia
November 23, 2010, 1:53 PM
New Portable, Radio Frequency Scanner Detects Breast Cancer in Seconds
October 27, 2010, 11:39 AM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information