Hindering the Movement of Tumor Cells Blocks Cancer from Spreading


A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota has recently made a break-through discovery. They employed an experimental model that was able to halter the spread of cancer after the movement of tumor cells was severely restricted.

While it has been known for years that limiting the movement of tumor cells may slow down the development rate of the cancer no one was able to achieve this task until now.

Official statistics note that over 90% of the deaths caused by cancer happen due to metastasis, namely the ability of the primary tumor to spread around the body by infecting nearby tissues. Hindering the process with the use of a possible treatment would allow doctors to explore more feasible treatment methods and dramatically raise survival rates among cancer patients. The study elaborated by the Minnesota team marks the first step in the right direction.

The movability of cancer cells

In order to test their theory, the researchers constructed several models that replicated tumor environments and focused on the way in which breast cancer moves among them. Drugs were used in order to hinder the movement and the researchers were surprised when the cells dramatically altered their movement method and patter in order to adapt to the new conditions. The team persevered and decided to also target the new moving method and the cells were completely stopped.

The link between metastasis and cell movement

Cancer cells need to travel and affect new areas so that the tumor can spread. The first areas to be affected are those that are closest to the primary tumor and in most cases they undergo several changes but only some of them are visible to the naked eye.

By using artificial environments researchers were able to track metastasis as it evolved naturally and then compare the results with the samples that were affected by drugs. Significant differences were visible in the samples where the movement of tumor cells was blocked.

Further tests are needed in order to test efficacy on other types of cancer. If animal testing will offer positive results trials involving humans may start in less than a decade.


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