The Koch Institute at MIT presents awards for amazing microscopy images. One winner, "Mind the Gap," is seen here. The investigator behind the data, Steffen Rickelt, who works in the Hynes lab, discusses the research that led to the image.
Metastasis, in which cancerous cells spread through the body, can be a feature of colorectal cancer. That is a primary focus of Rickelt's work. In the award-winning picture, tumor cells from a patient are shown in dark brown, surrounded by normal liver tissue cells, called hepatocytes, in lighter brown on the edges. The red cells indicate the presence of immune cells that are fighting the tumor cells.
This project is focused on one specific area seen in the image, the gap that is referenced in the title. The researchers want to know what's there in that matrix, which is located between immune cells and the invading tumor cells. Finding out more about what's there could help create effective treatment strategies for people suffering from colon or liver cancer.