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Medicineworld.org: 2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells

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2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells

2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells
For more than seven decades, researchers have had tantalizing clues that cancer cells and neighboring non-malignant cells in the body communicate with one another. It now emerges that this dialog may explain the clinical observation that cancer cells grow to make secondary tumors (metastasize) in some organs of the body and not others. Findings published recently (Feb. 15) suggest that this may also have therapeutic implications.

With the aid of gene chip technology and other powerful new tools, scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown clearly that there are two-way conversations taking place that are essential for metastatic cancer cells to form new tumors in distant organs. Further, they have been able to distinguish messages generated by the metastatic cells from those produced by the neighboring non-malignant cells.

"We now know that metastatic tumor cells do not act alone. They must find the right neighborhood, whose resident cells speak their language and are able to provide the support system necessary for the metastatic cells to survive and form secondary tumors," said David Tarin, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and member of the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego. Tarin is the principal investigator of the study, published February 15 as an EarlyView article on the International Journal of Cancer web site at Wiley Interscience (www.wiley.interscience.com). The DOI (digital object identifier) is 10.1002/ijc.21757.

This new insight into the biology of cancer may alter the way researchers think about how best to attack cancer, suggesting that hindering or blocking a support system provided by the host cells may be more effective than a direct hit to the cancer cells.

Tarin explained that the tumor cell is inherently genetically unstable - or highly variable in its genetic makeup - which means that only certain tumor cells are susceptible to powerful cancer drugs. Surviving cells then multiply more rapidly because they are not competing with as a number of other tumor cells for oxygen and nutrients. On the other hand, host cells are more genetically stable, or less variable in their genetic makeup, and therefore more vulnerable to attack.

The scientists explored intercellular signaling by grafting human breast cancer cells labeled with a green fluorescent protein, for easy recognition, into the mammary pads of laboratory mice. After the cells formed a breast tumor, the scientists were able to track and study cells that had broken away from the primary tumor to form new tumors in specific, predictable sites - namely the lungs, and lymph nodes.



Source: UCSD

Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
For more than seven decades, researchers have had tantalizing clues that cancer cells and neighboring non-malignant cells in the body communicate with one another. It now emerges that this dialog may explain the clinical observation that cancer cells grow to make secondary tumors (metastasize) in some organs of the body and not others. Findings published recently (Feb. 15) suggest that this may also have therapeutic implications.

Medicineworld.org: 2-way Conversations Between Malignant, Normal Cells

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