The spread of invasive cancer cells from the original tumor to distant parts of the body is known as metastasis. This is the main cause of death in people with cancer. In an article published online in iScience, University of California San Diego Medical investigated technical sensors that can detect and measure the single metastatic potential of cancer cells.
"Cancer would not have been so devastating, if he had not metastasized," - said Professor Pradipta Ghosh, MD, professor of medicine of medicine and cellular and molecular medicine UC San Diego, director of the Center network Medicine and senior author of the study .
"Although there are many ways to detect metastases, but there is no way to" see "and" measure "the potential of the tumor cells to metastasize in the future. We therefore tracking of not one but two signaling programs that contribute to metastasis of tumors and for detection of the fluorescent signal is activated when the tumor cells acquire a high potential for metastasis and therefore become fatal. "
Cancer cells alter normal cellular communications, capturing one of the many signaling pathways, which allows you to metastasize. Since tumor cells adapt to the environment or the treatment of cancer, prediction of which way is used, it becomes difficult. Comparing proteins and protein modification in all normal and cancerous tissues, Ghosh and his colleagues identified a particular protein and its unique modification, referred tirozinfosforilirovannym CCDC88A (GIV / Girdin), which is present only in solid tumor cells. Comparative analysis showed that this modification may be a point of convergence of multiple signal paths, typically stolen tumor cells for the development of metastases.
The team used a new engineering and biosensors sophisticated microscopes to modify the monitoring GIV and found that the fluorescent signals reflect the trend metastatic tumor cells. Then they were able to measure single metastatic potential of cancer cells and tumor evolution explained by this activity. The result was the development of biosensors fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET).
Despite the high aggressiveness and adaptability, very few cancer cells metastasize. If metastasis can be predicted, this data can be used to customize treatment for individual patients. For example, patients whose cancer can metastasize, or whose disease can be excised surgically, it is possible to get rid of highly toxic treatments, Ghosh said. Patients whose cancer spreads aggressively, can be processed medicine precision for targeting metastatic cells.
The sensors need to be further developed, the authors wrote, but have potential.