Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

Abstract:
Cancer cells that break away from tumors to go looking for a new home may prefer to settle into a soft bed, according to new findings from researchers at the University of Illinois.

Cell mechanics may hold key to how cancer spreads and recurs

Champaign, IL | Posted on August 6th, 2014

Some particularly enterprising cancer cells can cause a cancer to spread to other organs, called metastasis, or evade treatment to resurface after a patient is thought to be in remission. The Illinois team, along with colleagues in China, found that these so-called tumor-repopulating cells may lurk quietly in stiffer cellular environments, but thrive in a softer space. The results appear in the journal Nature Communications.

"What causes relapse is not clear," said study leader Ning Wang. Wang is the Leonard C. and Mary Lou Hoeft Professor in Engineering and professor of mechanical science and engineering of the U. of I. "Why are there a few cells left that can come back stronger? We thought cancer cells may have some properties in common with stem cells, which allows them to metastasize to different tissues. Normally, if you take a liver cell and put it in your lung, it will die. But an undifferentiated cell will live."

Two years ago, Wang's group published a method for selecting tumor-repopulating cells (TRCs) from a culture. Thanks to this selection method, the researchers isolated and studied TRCs from melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer notorious for spreading and recurring, to see how the mechanical environment around the cells affected their ability to multiply and cause new tumors.

The researchers grew the cells on gels of different stiffnesses - some very soft and some more firm, to mimic different types of tissues in the body. What they found surprised them.

The TRCs placed in very soft gels grew and multiplied, as expected. The cells placed on stiffer gels did not proliferate; however, they did not die, either - they became dormant. When the researchers later transferred the dormant TRCs to a soft gel, the cells "woke up" and began to multiply and spread.

Wang speculates that these properties of dormancy and reawakening when the mechanical environment is more inviting may explain why soft tissues, such as the brain or lungs, are most vulnerable to metastasis.

"We have many different types of organs where solid tumors originate, but if you look at the metastasized sites, the majority are in soft tissues," said Wang. "Brain, lung, liver and bone marrow, all soft. So it may not be coincidence. We need to do more research."

Next, Wang and colleagues hope to tackle the question of what makes TRCs so resistant to drugs, a trait that makes recurrent cancer much harder to treat. Unlocking this puzzle may help doctors fight recurrent cancer, although Wang hopes that understanding how TRCs work can lead to treatments that prevent metastasis in the first place.

"The key issue in this paper is outlining the mechanisms that control how TRCs proliferate," Wang said. "The importance of knowing these mechanisms is that we now have targets that we didn't have before, specific targets for new types of drugs that will interfere with this renewal pathway. It could give us a new avenue for treatment and preventing relapse."

The National Institutes of Health supported this work. Wang also is affiliated with the Department of Bioengineering, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, the Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory at the U. of I.

The paper, "Matrix softness regulates plasticity of tumor-repopulating cells via H3K9 demethylation and Sox2 expression," is available from Nature Publishing Group.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Liz Ahlberg
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073


Ning Wang
217-265-0913

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Nanomedicine

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

A silver lining: UCSB researchers cradle silver nanoclusters inside synthetic DNA to create a programmed, tunable fluorescent array April 23rd, 2015

Discoveries

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Announcements

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Nanobiotechnology

A silver lining: UCSB researchers cradle silver nanoclusters inside synthetic DNA to create a programmed, tunable fluorescent array April 23rd, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

UCLA nanoscientists are first to model atomic structures of three bacterial nanomachines: Cryo electron microscope enables scientists to explore the frontiers of targeted antibiotics April 21st, 2015

Rafts on the cell membrane: Researchers from TU Wien (Vienna) shed light on a big secret of cell membranes: The 'lipid rafts', which have been believed to move within the cell membrane, do not really exist April 21st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project