Understanding the genetic control of cytoskeletal changes that affect breast cancer cell migration
Cancer is so dangerous because it doesn’t stay in one place. Instead, cancer cells go on the move, spreading around the body and forming secondary tumours elsewhere. Stopping this process of cell migration – known as metastasis – is a challenging task, but it could be a game-changer for cancer treatment. One of the first steps in a cancer cell’s migratory journey is to start changing shape, achieved by manipulating its internal ‘scaffolding’ or cytoskeleton (highlighted in green and pink in these images). In order to understand more about this process and potentially how to stop it, researchers have been investigating the impact of altering different genes in human breast cancer cells grown in the lab. Understanding more about the complex molecular processes that enable tumour cells to rearrange their cytoskeleton and embark on their journey around the body could lead to new ideas for stopping cancer in its tracks.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
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.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.