Shape of Tumor may affect whether Cells can Metastasize

Only a few cells in a cancerous tumor are able to break away and spread to other parts of the body, but the curve along the edge of the tumor may play a large role in activating these tumor-seeding cells, according to a new University of Illinois study.

Using engineered tissue environments in various shapes and patterns, the study of skin cancer found that the more curved the cell cultures were, the more cancer cells at the edges displayed markers o f#stem cell characteristics – the key to spreading to other tissues.

This has potential for furthering our understanding of cancer as well as developing personalized treatment plans.

Led by Kristopher Kilian, a professor of materials science and engineering, and Timothy Fan, a professor of veterinary medicine, the researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Materials.

“The most dangerous part of cancer is metastasis,” Kilian said. “Some cells that we call #cancer stem cells adopt deadly characteristics where they can travel through the bloodstream to other tissue and form new tumors.”

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