TEMPE, Ariz. A team of student researchers and their professors from 20 laboratories around the country have gotten a new view of cancer cells. The work could shed light on the transforming physical properties of these cells as they metastasize, said Jack R. Staunton, a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University in the lab of Prof. Robert Ros, and the lead author of a paper reporting on the topic.
Metastasis is a critical step in the progression of cancer. It is when the cancer spreads from one organ or part to another. While much is known about metastasis, it remains an incomplete understanding of the physical biology of the transition.
To get a better understanding of metastasis, more than 95 graduate students, post docs and professors in a variety of laboratories across the U.S. subjected two cell lines to a battery of high-tech tests and measurements. Their results, outlined in the paper "A physical sciences network characterization of non-tumorigenic and metastatic cells," were published today (April 26, 2013) in Scientific Reports.
The researchers performed coordinated molecular and biophysical studies of non-malignant and metastatic breast cell lines to learn more about what happens to a cell when it transitions to a metastatic state.
Each laboratory is part of the National Cancer Institute's Physical Sciences Oncology Center (PSOC), a network of 12 centers devoted to understanding the physical sciences of cancer. ASU's center, the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology, is led by Prof. Paul Davies.
Each PS-OC was supplied with identical cell lines and common reagents, and considerable effort was made to ensure that all the conditions were standardized and documented at regular intervals. Staunton said the ASU group made three contributions to the study.
Other ASU researchers involved in the project and co-authors on the paper are: Alexander Fuhrmann, Vivek Na
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Arizona State University