German China

Spain: Biomedicine

The Forces that Drive Tumor Cells

| Editor: Alexander Stark

reast cancer cells attached to a surface rich in collagen. The actin cytoskeleton can be seen in green, coated with active myosin (ppMLC) in red, and the cell-cell junctions (E-cadherin) in blue.
reast cancer cells attached to a surface rich in collagen. The actin cytoskeleton can be seen in green, coated with active myosin (ppMLC) in red, and the cell-cell junctions (E-cadherin) in blue. (Source: IBEC)

A malignant tumor is characterized by its ability to spread around its surroundings. To do so, tumor cells stick to the surrounding tissue (mainly collagen) and use forces to propel. Spanish scientists now revealed the forces these tumor cells use to spread.

Barcelona/Spain — The journal Nature Physics published a study by a team led by Xavier Trepat, Icrea researcher at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (Ibec) and lecturer at the Department of Biomedicine University of Barcelona (UB), and Jaume Casademunt, professor of Physics at the UB, reveals the forces these tumor cells use to spread. The relation between these forces and the cell movement goes beyond current physical laws.

Researchers put breast tumor cells on a surface rich in collagen and observed how these expanded. Thanks to the technology a group of scientists at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona developed, these allowed them measuring the physical forces that were used by these cells during the process, which has not been observed so far.

With these methods, they saw the tumor spreading depends on a competition between forces: cells stick to each other and are kept together, and at the same time, they adhere to the environment in order to escape. Depending on the predominant force, the tumor will keep its spherical shape or it will totally spread around the surface. Icrea researcher Xavier Trepat explained that this was a similar process to the one when a drop of water is placed on a surface. In some surfaces, the drop would totally spread, for example on a brick, while when put on other surfaces, the drop would remain spherical, for example on an umbrella waterproof fabric.

Tumors Follow Different Laws

Despite the similarities between tumors and liquids, the physics in these two phenomena is very different. While wetting in surfaces is a core problem in classical physics, tumors seemed to follow very different laws, notes Ricard Alert, UB researcher, intern at ‘la Caixa’ and co-author of the article. Unlike passive fluids, cells can create forces and move on their own. This turns biological tissues into active fluids, and in particular, tumors into active drops. Therefore, understanding tumor expansion on a surface requires developing a new physical theory that researchers have named “active wetting”.

Natural Behavior of Cancer Cells Revealed

Japan: New Cell Culture Platform

Natural Behavior of Cancer Cells Revealed

09/23/2018 - Japanese scientists successfully used a new cell culture platform to observe never-before-seen behaviors of live cancer cells under the microscope, leading to explanations of long-known cancer characteristics. read...

When we think about state of matter, we usually think about solids, liquids or gases. The group's results and other laboratory results point out that living cells do not fit into this scheme and behave like another state of matter, which we call active matter. When a tumor appears, cells accumulate mutations and their mechanical properties change. In general, tumor cells lose union between them and gain union with their environment. During tumor growth, the own environment changes too, increasing its amount of collagen and rigidity. The experiments show that these changes are enough to put the balance of forces out of order, causing cells to start spreading around.

These findings show the importance of physical forces in metastasis, opening the window to the development of therapies to alter the mechanics of tumors as a potential treatment.

Reference article: Carlos Pérez-González, Ricard Alert, Carles Blanch-Mercader, Manuel Gómez-González, Tomasz Kolodziej, Elsa Bazellieres, Jaume Casademunt, Xavier Trepat (2018). “Active wetting of epithelial tissues”. Nature Physics, 24 September 2018. Doi:10.1038/s41567-018-0279-5

Treatment of Tumours Associated with Chronic Inflammation

Spain: Cancer Therapy

Treatment of Tumours Associated with Chronic Inflammation

07/16/2018 - A new study conducted by researchers at IRB Barcelona demonstrates that myeloid cells, which belong to the leucocyte family and form part of the innate immune system, use p38 protein signalling to support inflammation-associated colon cancer. The study suggests that inhibition of the p38 pathway in myeloid cells may be a useful therapeutic approach, especially in tumours associated with chronic inflammation. read...

Comments are being loaded ....

Leave a comment
  1. Avatar
    Avatar
    Edited by at
    Edited by at
    1. Avatar
      Avatar
      Edited by at
      Edited by at

Comments are being loaded ....

Report comment

Kommentar Freigeben

Der untenstehende Text wird an den Kommentator gesendet, falls dieser eine Email-hinterlegt hat.

Freigabe entfernen

Der untenstehende Text wird an den Kommentator gesendet, falls dieser eine Email-hinterlegt hat.

copyright

This article is protected by copyright. You want to use it for your own purpose? Infos can be found under www.mycontentfactory.de (ID: 45518468 / Laborpraxis Worldwide)