Video: The squishiness of cancer cells

June 3, 2014

Did you know that cells have a texture? Not only that, but the specific qualities of this texture actually can tell us important information about human health, and even begin to answer long-held questions about diseases like cancer. UCLA's Amy Rowat studies cells, specifically exploring the potential revelations of their texture, with a focus on what the cell nucleus can teach us.

A misshapen nucleus can be a marker to help diagnose cancer, but there is still more to be understood about the role of the nucleus. Researchers know that are softer than and that when treated, they become stiffer. But it's not completely clear how or why the nucleus becomes enlarged and what that might mean for a deeper understanding of the prognosis and diagnosis of cancer. Rowat seeks answers to these questions and is hopeful there are ways to illuminate these mysteries.

The video will load shortly

While the minutiae of a nucleus may initially seem too tiny to focus on if we're seeking to understand something as complex as cancer, the 'squishiness' of a cell may open up a vast array of innovations and breakthroughs. The significance of basic research is just as consequential as applied research. It seeks to answer larger, fundamental questions and offers the possibility of finding answers with wide ranging effects. Sometimes starting with a broader set of questions can lead to a variety of discoveries whose full impact cannot be known at the outset. A collaboration with the UCLA medical school means Rowat's work could have a meaningful clinical impact on the study and treatment of and other diseases.

Explore further: Discovery of Mer protein in leukemia cells' nuclei may be new, druggable target

Related Stories

Discovery of Mer protein in leukemia cells' nuclei may be new, druggable target

March 13, 2012
Since the mid-1990s, doctors have had the protein Mer in their sights – it coats the outside of cancer cells, transmitting signals inside the cells that aid their uncontrolled growth.

Researchers show how cancer cells may respond to mechanical force

April 9, 2014
The push and pull of physical force can cause profound changes in the behavior of a cell. Two studies from researchers working at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center reveal how cells respond to mechanical manipulation, ...

New method halves wrongful cancer prognoses

February 6, 2013
The number of incorrect cancer prognoses can be halved with computerised image analysis. In three years time, the method can be used on patients with bowel cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

Researchers show nuclear stiffness keeps stem cells and cancer cells in place

February 25, 2014
Adult stem cells and cancer cells have many things in common, including an ability to migrate through tiny gaps in tissue. Both types of cells also experience a trade-off when it comes to this ability; having a flexible nucleus ...

Recommended for you

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.