- Cancerkin visits Chai Cancer Care
- New prognostic test for breast cancer could improve patient treatment
Cancerkin visits Chai Cancer Care
As part of Cancerkin’s commitment to work with similar organisations, Victoria Todd (Cancerkin’s Chief Executive) visited the Chai Cancer Care centre this week and met with Louise Hager, Chai’s Chairman, and Lisa Steele, their Chief Executive. She came back very impressed with their stunningly beautiful Centre, the range of therapies they offer and the very warm welcome she received.
Study identifies protein which causes breast cancer cells to migrate
A study published online in The Journal of Cell Biology has identified a protein that causes individual cells to be released from their neighbouring cells and migrate away from healthy breast tissue. Their results, they say, help clarify the molecular changes required for cancer cells to metastasize.
The researchers looked at epithelial cells, which line the inside and outside of organs throughout the body and give rise to 85% of all cancers. In this study, they focused on mammary epithelial cells, which form the ducts that carry milk within the breast. As Dr Ewald, one of the study authors, explains, “tumour cells have to break their connections to other epithelial cells in order to leave the breast and build metastases in other parts of the body.”
The scientists removed small pieces of mammary tissue from normal mice and grew them in gels that mimic their natural environment. By using coloured proteins to mark different types of cells, they were then able to watch how cell behaviour varied with changes to the genetics of the cell.
The first protein studied, E-cadherin, is found on the surface of most epithelial cells and is used to connect epithelial cells to each other. Its absence is often associated with human breast cancers. Therefore, when the scientists deleted the protein from normal mouse mammary cells, they were surprised to find that most of the epithelial cells still remained connected to each other. The same result was found in live mice.
In a second set of experiments, the team turned on a gene called Twist 1. Within 24 hours, dozens of individual cells had begun to move past the epithelial boundary and into the gel beyond. Again, similar results were seen when this experiment was repeated in live mice.
Further experiments indicated the single cell detachment and migration induced by Twist 1 actually requires the presence of E-caderin – the protein that helps bind cells together. As Dr Ewald says, “This finding is quite counterintuitive and we are eager to understand the biology behind it…our goal is to improve outcomes for patients with metastatic breast cancer, and this work takes us one step closer to doing so.”
For more information please visit Science Daily.