Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cells' grouping tactic points to new cancer treatments

Date:
July 21, 2010
Source:
University College London
Summary:
The mechanism that cells use to group together and move around the body has been discovered by scientists at in the UK -- a finding that has implications for the development of new cancer treatments.

This is a cluster of neural crest cells, where the protrusions can be seen at the border of the cluster.
Credit: Roberto Mayor, UCL

The mechanism that cells use to group together and move around the body has been discovered by scientists at UCL -- a finding that has implications for the development of new cancer treatments.

The study, which used embryonic cells, points to a new way of treating cancer where therapy is targeted at the process of cancer cells grouping together. The aim is to stop cancer cells from spreading and causing secondary tumours.

In order for cells to migrate they form protrusions -- much like oars of a boat -- in the direction that they want to travel. However, if a single cell is isolated it produces these oars in all directions and ends up rowing in circles. To move around effectively cells must stick together before attempting to travel.

The study, published in the journal Developmental Cell, explains how this process works. Scientists have discovered that when cells group together the contact with other cells inhibits the formation of protrusions or 'oars'. This means that protrusions only form on the cells that are on the outside edges of the group, causing the group to move in specific direction as the group is pushed by the outermost 'leader' cells.

Dr Roberto Mayor, UCL Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and lead author of the research, said, "Being able to form a group with neighbour cells is advantageous for migration of embryonic cells as well as cancer cells during tumour metastasis -- they have strength in unity.

"The findings suggest an alternative way in which cancer treatments might work in the future if therapies can be targeted at the process of group formation to stop cancer cells from spreading and causing secondary tumours."

The experiments were carried out using neural crest cells, which are found next to the developing central nervous system in embryos. These cells can develop into a huge variety of different kind of cells including heart, face, skin and muscle cells. Scientists blocked surface molecules, proteins called N-cadherin, on the neural crest cells that are involved in forming contacts between cells. When they did this the power of the cells to group together was lost, along with any ability to migrate.

It is expected that inhibition of N-cadherin would have the same the effect in cancer cells, which also move in groups during metastasis.

The work was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric Theveneau, Lorena Marchant, Sei Kuriyama, Mazhar Gull, Barbara Moepps, Maddy Parsons, Roberto Mayor. Collective chemotaxis requires contact dependent cell polarity. Developmental Cell, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2010.06.012

Cite This Page:

University College London. "Cells' grouping tactic points to new cancer treatments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719124410.htm>.
University College London. (2010, July 21). Cells' grouping tactic points to new cancer treatments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719124410.htm
University College London. "Cells' grouping tactic points to new cancer treatments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100719124410.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins