Melanoma, a skin cancer, is very difficult to treat, especially when it’s in an advanced stage. The melanoma rates are higher than 40 years ago, with million people treated each year in United Kingdom. Professor Robert Insall and his team have discovered, at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, in Glasgow, a chemical substance that melanoma cells follow in their process of spreading.
The researcher team is keen on cell movement because, in their opinion, this is the key to stop cancer. Cells move with a direction to spread around the body, leaving the tumor edges. The team started to ask themselves which chemical produces melanoma cell movement, and what guide them too. They thought that they could research about chemical stimulus that produces cell movement (chemotaxis). The movement direction depends on the amount of chemical surrounding the cell.
After these thoughts, the researchers discovered another type of signaling molecule known as lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). This type of molecules let melanoma cells move with accuracy. However, when the team eliminated the cell “vision”, the melanoma cells lost their sense and started to move without course. This means that LPA was guiding melanoma cells in their way and the melanoma could be responsible of their expansion by making LPA.
Thanks to these contributions, world is closer to end his fight against this horrible type of cancer.
ADDED INFORMATION FROM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE
Chemotaxis during tumour progression: One potential explanation for cancer cells becoming metastatic is that they evolve chemotactic competence as the tumors develop, and thus move from unsteered to steered migration.
I have chosen this article because I am always asking me how cancer cells spread and why they expand faster in some people than in other.
In my opinion, the article is very interesting and has a lot of useful information. It answered me lots of questions about this matter.
This video shows how LPA affects to melanoma cell direction. When the melanoma cells have LPA they move in a controlled way, but when they haven’t LPA, they lose their course.