About 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, says the American Cancer Society, and 10,000 of those cases will be fatal. If not caught in the early stages, melanoma can be a particularly virulent form of cancer, spreading through the body with an efficiency that few tumors possess. Now, researchers at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have discovered one of the reasons why this particular skin tumor is so ruthless. Unlike other cancers, melanoma is born with its metastatic engines fully revved.
"Other cancers need to learn how to spread, but not melanoma," says Whitehead Member Robert Weinberg, senior author of the paper that will be published September 4 in the early online edition of the journal Nature Genetics. "Now, for the first time, we understand the genetic mechanism responsible for this."
Metastasis (the spread of disease to an unconnected body part) is a highly inefficient, multi-step process that requires cancer cells to jump through many hoops. The cells first must invade a nearby tissue, then make their way into the blood or lymphatic vessels. Next they must migrate through the bloodstream to a distant site, exit the bloodstream, and establish new colonies. Researchers have wondered why melanoma in particular is able to do this not only more efficiently than other cancers, but at a far earlier stage. This new study shows that as melanocytes--cells that protect the skin from sun damage by producing pigmentation--morph into cancer cells, they immediately reawaken a dormant cellular process that lets them travel swiftly throughout the body.
David Cameron | EurekAlert!
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
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22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy