Home » HEALTH » How Lung Cancer Spreads Caught Under Microscope Vividly by UK Researchers
Normal cells (left) compared to when the cell ties are broken down (right). Credit: Vaughan et al. Cell Reports. http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/abstract/S2211-1247(14)01041-9

How Lung Cancer Spreads Caught Under Microscope Vividly by UK Researchers

Cancer researchers of UK have made a breakthrough recently when they discovered from microscopic images that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells, which means they can break loose and spread lung cancer.

A research study published in Cell Reports said these cells break loose and spread around the body, lung cancer cells first chop of the protein ties that bind them to other cells, adding that targeting this flaw could help stop lung cancer from spreading.

“This important research shows for the first time how lung cancer cells sever ties with their neighbours and start to spread around the body, by hijacking the cells’ recycling process and sending it into overdrive. Targeting this flaw could help stop lung cancer from spreading.” said Dr Angeliki Malliri, lead researcher.

The researchers at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute discovered that these adhesive cells, controlled by a protein called TIAM1, are chopped up when cell maintenance work goes wrong.

Healthy cells usually scrap old cell parts to break them down and reuse again but this process goes out of control in lung cancer cells, which scrap too many TIAM1 ties, said researchers. The best way to address the lung cancer treatment is to target this recycling process from spreading by keeping the cells stuck firmly together, said the team.

Lung cancer affects 43,500 new cases in the UK each year and it is the most common cause of about 35,000 cancer deaths each year.  Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, said: “Lung cancer causes more than one in five of all cancer deaths in the UK and it’s vital that we find effective new treatments to fight the disease and save more lives.

“Early-stage research like this is essential to find treatments which could one day block cancer spread – which would be a game changer. It’s also crucial that we find ways to diagnose the disease earlier, when treatment is more likely to be successful and the cancer is less likely to have spread,” Nell Barrie said.

The University of Manchester in partnership with the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, joined the UK-based Cancer Research UK and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust to conduct research under the body Manchester Cancer Research Centre, allowing doctors and scientists to expedite work on cancer research.

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