Finding key to halting spread of cancer cells
Cancer cells travel by adapting their behaviour to different environments, scientists have found.
On flat surfaces, they tend to "crawl"; while in a web-like meshwork they become rounder to help them squeeze through gaps.
The findings, from observations of tumour cells in different conditions, could aid the development of new treatments to curb the spread of cancer.
Scientists are trying to develop new drugs that can halt the march of mobile cancer cells.
Dr Melda Tozluoglu, from the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute, a member of the team whose work is published in the journal 'Nature Cell Biology', said: "For cancer to spread, cancer cells actually need to move inside the body, from one point to another, stop, and start a new tumour.
"Our work focuses on understanding how the cancer cells move in the body.
"We need to use drugs that target the different types of movement that cancer cells can take advantage of."
Dr Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Stopping cancers from spreading to new parts of the body is essential for making treatments more effective."