Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 11th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Travelling Companions
09 February 2016

Travelling Companions

One of the greatest obstacles to eradicating cancer is its ability to seed new tumours in other tissues, a process known as metastasis. Researchers working on breast cancer in mice have recently shown that, to successfully establish these secondary tumours, cancer cells work as a team. By monitoring the behaviour of fluorescently-labelled tumours, they found that multiple cells often travel and invade tissues together. For example, the presence of both red and green-labelled cells in the metastatic tumour pictured reveals that it was seeded by cells from at least two different populations, like over 90% of the secondary tumours studied. Collaborating seems to help cancer cells overcome the body’s defences, making them much more likely to conquer new territories than if they attempted it alone. Crucially, the study also identified cell surface proteins specific to travelling cancer cells, potentially useful markers for identifying and targeting those responsible for metastasis.

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.