Researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have figured out a key molecular step by which a cancer cell can unhook itself from the mesh weave of other cancer cells in a tumor, and move away to a different part of the body - the process, known as metastasis, that makes cancer so dangerous.
Describing what they call a critical "molecular switch" - detailed in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Cell Biology - the researchers say the door is now open to designing new ways to block that metastasis. "It always has been a mystery as to what allows a cancer cell to become mobile and move away from a tumor, but now we have found a very interesting mechanism that explains it," says the studys lead author, Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology. That switch, in the form of an enzyme known as GSK-3ß, which is known to alter the function of proteins, may "offer us an anticancer strategy to pursue," Hung says.
Most cancers are of the "solid tumor" variety, and are made up of epithelial cells - those which make up the membranous tissue covering organs and other internal surfaces of the body. Although epithelial cells are firmly fixed to each other in a network that makes up tissue, researchers know from the study of developmental biology that embryonic epithelial cells have the ability to move. To do that, epithelial cells take on the characteristics of what are known as "mesenchymal" cells, those that develop into connective tissue and blood vessel cells, among other tissue types. They are capable of forming collagen fibers that allows them to "creep along" to where they are needed during development.
Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
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,...
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...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences