Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Motorways for Metastasis
12 May 2016

Motorways for Metastasis

Metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells from the original tumour to a different organ, is the deadliest scenario for cancer patients, so understanding this process is a priority for medical science. In an exciting breakthrough, a team of researchers has identified a protein, dubbed Mena, which is instrumental in organising the cell migration involved in metastasis. A specific form of the protein, known as MenaINV, allows cancer cells (pictured in green), to re-arrange protein fibres such as collagen (in blue), facilitating their access to blood vessels (in red). For breast cancer patients at least, the presence of MenaINV in tumour cells, rather than the typical form of Mena, is associated with metastasis and earlier mortality, further highlighting the importance of this protein. More research into MenaINV could help develop means of assessing the potential for invasiveness of individual tumours, or even of blocking metastasis altogether.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.