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Water-Based ‘Engine’ Propels Tumor Cells Through Tight Spaces in the Body

May 1, 2014


Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a new mechanism that explains how cancer cells spread through extremely narrow three-dimensional spaces in the body by using a propulsion system based on water and charged particles.

The finding, reported in the April 24 issue of the journal Cell, uncovers a novel way that the deadly cells use to migrate through a cancer patient’s body. The discovery may lead to new treatments that help keep the disease in check. The work also points to the growing importance of studying how cells behave in three dimensions, not just atop flat two-dimensional lab dishes.

The paper’s senior authors were Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Sean X. Sun, a Johns Hopkins associate professor of mechanical engineering. Kim Stroka, a postdoctoral fellow in Konstantopoulos’ lab. and Hongyuan Jiang, a postdoctoral fellow working in Sun’s lab, are the two lead co-authors.

The multidisciplinary research at Johns Hopkins was conducted within the university’s Institute for NanoBioTechnology and its Physical Sciences-Oncology Center. These organizations and the departments of Chemical and

Biomolecular Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

Read more here.


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