Saturday, December 03, 2016 | Updated at 6:27 AM ET

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Report: Lung cancer cells spread like 'collapsing tents'

First Posted: Nov 26, 2016 12:56 AM EST
Section of malignant connective-tissue tumour...

Section of malignant connective-tissue tumour...(Photo : Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Scientists from the University of York have found that lung cancer spreads like tents that have collapsed and ran adrift in the wind. The researchers claimed their finding could help prevent the spread the lung cancer.

According to their research, communication between two proteins triggers the "tent" to lose its shape and become unanchored. Such allows the cell to travel to other areas of the study.

The researchers from York and the University of Texas have jointly published a Journal of Clinical Investigation and describe how Golgi apparatus, communication center of a cell receives a signal from proteins which prompt the movement of membrane sacks inside it, reported by BBC.

The changes of membrane pockets allow altering the shape and surface of the cancer cell, enabling it to break free from its moorings and make an open space to move around.

It was appropriate to think of the cancer cell resembling a tent structure, said by the University of York's biology department.

"It has fixed sides to hold its shape and is firmly anchored to the ground to secure its contents," said by Dr. Daniel Ungar, from the University of York's biology department. Daniel reported that to move the tent, its contents have to rearrange and with its sides collapsed to lift out of its anchored position and carry it away.

Daniel also claimed that a similar process happens with cancer when it spreads its outer edges are altered leaving it unanchored.

The researcher found that a protein called Zeb 1 is critical to this process and the research team now wants to look without damaging healthy cells how to target the protein.

Meanwhile, the researchers investigate their study only looked at lung cancer cell and did not know if the same process will happen in other types of cancer. For that, they need further research. 

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