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!
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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