Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Divide and rule: a tumour's strategy

20.08.2015

Researchers supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation have discovered how aggressive cells can invade healthy tissue during the earliest stage of tumour development. This opens up new ways of attacking cancer at its root.

When normal body cells escape the control from their peers, a tumour can form and eventually lead to cancer. Scientists have been struggling to understand how exactly these cells manage to set themselves free in the first place.


SNSF-study about the earliest stage of tumour development opens up new ways of attacking cancer at its root.

The team of Eduardo Moreno, professor at the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Bern, has now discovered that a mechanism that is known from the early development of embryos plays a role in the earliest stages of adult tumour development (*).

As part of their SNSF-funded project, the researchers were able to film the cells of developing fruit fly pupas under the microscope for several hours. The genetically modified fruit flies carried an artificially activated gene called Myc, which is known to be involved in tumour formation.

The gene alone was sufficient to induce abnormal cells to divide more actively, squeeze through between healthy cells, kill them and take over their place. This represents an unexpected mechanism of invading tissues in the first phase of tumour development.

A model for most cancers

"The activation of the tumour gene gave the cells special mechanical properties helping them to intermingle with normal cells, surround them and eventually kill them more efficiently", says Romain Levayer, the first author of the study.

"This invasion mechanism is known to be active during embryonic development when cells rearrange themselves to transform the body shape. We have now shown that cells are capable of using the same programme in order to invade healthy tissue", says group leader Moreno. "Divide and rule", the famous military strategy, is how the researchers describe the aggressive cells' behaviour.

The mechanism could explain the earliest beginnings of tumour development of most cancer types and is different from invasion mechanisms of metastases in later phases. "We were able to observe the mechanism in fruit fly pupas. The fruit fly was chosen as a model because it can be easily modified genetically. Since the pupa does not move and is transparent, it is ideal for observation under the microscope", says Moreno.

About 90 percent of all cancers form in lining tissues (epithelia) like the one filmed in the pupas: in colon, skin or the mammary gland. The manipulated Myc gene is the most commonly misregulated gene in tumours. The identified mechanism could therefore apply to many cancers and help scientists to find new strategies to prevent tumour formation at its root before much damage has been caused.

(*) R. Levayer, B. Hauert and E. Moreno et al. (2015). Myc-induced cell mixing is required for competitive tissue invasion and destruction. Nature online: doi:10.1038/nature14684
(Available to journalists as a PDF file from the SNSF: com@snf.ch)

> Video of Invasion Mechanism (on YouTube): https://youtu.be/DaQ4oXPTHK0
Abnormal green cells invade healthy purple tissue in fruit fly pupa
© Eduardo Moreno, University of Bern

Contact

Prof. Dr. Eduardo Moreno
Institute of Cell Biology
Baltzerstrasse 4
CH-3012 Bern
Phone: +41 (0)31 631 46 77
E-mail: eduardo.moreno@izb.unibe.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/media/press-releases/Pages/default.aspx

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>