MAY 05, 2016 5:35 AM PDT

Cancer is a Total Cluster...


Cancer spreads by the process of metastasis, where malignant cells break off from tumors in one part of the body and travel to other parts of the body via the blood stream. It's been thought that when a rather large clump of cells breaks off a tumor that its progress through narrow blood vessels would be not be possible due to size. Simply put, clumps of cells that were too large to fit could not spread. Much like a square peg not fitting through a round hole, it was believed that lumpy clusters of cells could not access tiny capillaries.

Researchers have now found that's not always the case. A team at Harvard Medical School has published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that shows clusters of cells actually break apart and change shape to fit through small spaces. Individual cells from these clusters transform into oval shapes and almost march, one by one, through vessels as small as 10 micrometers in size. Once there, they can reform into clusters and continue to spread disease. The work at Harvard was done using live zebra fish implanted with clusters of cancer cells.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JAN 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 28, 2020
An Ambitious New Mission to Explore the Sun's Poles
A plethora of spacecraft have photographed the Sun, but every one of those photographs has been snapped from the rather limited perspective of the Sun&rsqu...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
ISS Poised to Receive Fresh Supplies by Tuesday
Life on the International Space Station isn’t quite as convenient as it is for the rest of us here on Earth. With no convenient restaurants or conven...
FEB 25, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 25, 2020
The Art of Kinetics
The conservation of energy is a universal rule in our universe.  This principle of nature dictates that in an isolated system, the total amount of ene...
MAR 06, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 06, 2020
Why Is Good Nutrition Advise So Hard to Come By
Nutrition advice seems to come from everywhere. Exposure to this advice, one is likely to find endless examples of conflicting information. This happens fo...
MAR 23, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 23, 2020
Here's Why the Planets Orbit the Sun How They Do
All the solar system’s planets follow nearly the same plane and direction as they orbit the Sun, and this is something that has fascinated astronomer...
APR 01, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 01, 2020
Saliva Test can Measure THC Levels in Impaired Drivers
Now that cannabis products are legal in many states across the U.S., law officials need a quick and reliable way to test potentially impaired drivers. As s...
Loading Comments...