Duke University researchers have found a “roving detection system” on the surface of cells that may point to new ways of treating diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The cells, which were studied in nematode worms, are able to break through normal tissue boundaries and burrow into other tissues and organs—a crucial step in many normal developmental processes, ranging from embryonic development and wound-healing to the formation of new blood vessels.
But sometimes the process goes awry. Such is the case with metastatic cancer, in which cancer cells spread unchecked from where they originated and form tumors in other parts of the body.
“Cell invasion is one of the most clinically relevant yet least understood aspects of cancer progression,” said David Sherwood, an associate professor of biology at Duke.
Sherwood is leading a team that is investigating the molecular mechanisms that control cell invasion
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