MAR 03, 2020 2:11 PM PST

New technique maps tissue development and tumors

Research published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the development of a new technique that is capable of mapping tissue formation and cell metastasis. This method has the potential to improve our understanding of how tumors spread and how new tissue forms, both crucial for cancer research.  

The technique draws on a method called TFM, traction force microscopy, that is capable of measuring the forces that single cells exert. However, this new method aimed to measure such forces in cell clusters, such as those seen in tumors.

"We know that the way groups of cells interact with their extracellular matrix is important, and we want to understand the instructions that tell these clusters to become organized into tissue-like architecture, or alternatively to become disorganized like an invasive tumor," said author Ian Y. Wong, an assistant professor at Brown University's School of Engineering. "This technique gives us a way to profile these mechanical interactions between cells and matrix in a way that we couldn't before."

Co-first author Susan Leggett elaborated, saying, "We know that tumors, for example, tend to be spatially heterogeneous, with cells behaving differently throughout a tumor. So, elucidating heterogeneous behaviors across a multicellular cluster is something that's important in a clinical context."

Using an approach called DART (Displacement Arrays of Rendered Tractions), the researchers mapped the forces that multi-cluster cells were exerting on their surrounding environments in mammary cells. They looked for specific patterns that the clusters made in order to analyze their results.

Photo: Pixabay

"Basically in any setting where cells need to move in an extracellular matrix, we can use this technique to look for patterns," said co-author Christian Franck, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Through this mechanism, the researchers hope to shed light on how different drugs affect cell migration and division and in turn better understand tumor metastasis. In an effort to make their findings accessible and readily usable, the researchers made the code behind the technique freely available online.

Sources: PNAS, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 03, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
One Eight Cancer Patients Also Carry Inherited Genetic Mutations
NOV 03, 2020
One Eight Cancer Patients Also Carry Inherited Genetic Mutations
Genetic sequencing technologies have rapidly advanced, reducing the time required to sequence the entire human genome fr ...
NOV 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Anti-depressant Shows Promise in Treating Childhood Cancer
NOV 06, 2020
Anti-depressant Shows Promise in Treating Childhood Cancer
Researchers from Sweden and the US have found that a commonly prescribed antidepressant may help stop the growth of a ca ...
NOV 16, 2020
Cancer
Fingerprinting Ginger Extracts and Testing Their Anti-Cancer Abilities
NOV 16, 2020
Fingerprinting Ginger Extracts and Testing Their Anti-Cancer Abilities
Modern medicine relies on careful study and isolation of compounds or proteins, but many studies point to natural herbal ...
NOV 24, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Young Inventor Creates Award-winning At-home Cancer Diagnostic
NOV 24, 2020
Young Inventor Creates Award-winning At-home Cancer Diagnostic
Getting a breast cancer diagnosis often means having to endure multiple tests, including some painful and invasive proce ...
DEC 08, 2020
Cancer
Stress hormones interrupt tumor cells' hibernation
DEC 08, 2020
Stress hormones interrupt tumor cells' hibernation
A new study published in Science Translational Medicine suggests that the hormones released from stress could “rea ...
DEC 31, 2020
Cancer
Does inflammation make ADT symptoms worse?
DEC 31, 2020
Does inflammation make ADT symptoms worse?
A new study published in the journal Cancer considers the impact of inflammation on prostate cancer patients underg ...
Loading Comments...