Video: The squishiness of cancer cells

June 3, 2014, University of California

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.

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

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

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.