Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cancer Cells and the Environment

There is an interesting piece on Eureka talking about how researchers now believe the environment, micro environment, can be a controller to cancer cell.

They state:

The research team has found that normal cells that reside within the tumor, part of the tumor microenvironment, may supply factors that help cancer cells grow and survive despite the presence of anti-cancer drugs. These findings appear online this week in a paper published in Nature.

"Historically, researchers would go to great lengths to pluck out tumor cells from a sample and discard the rest of the tissue," said senior author Todd Golub director of the Broad's Cancer Program and Charles A. Dana Investigator in Human Cancer Genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Golub is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "But what we're finding now is that those non-tumor cells that make up the microenvironment may be an important source of drug resistance."

 We have argued likewise in one of our recent White Papers. We argued that such cancers as melanoma have a compelling model for metastasis which uses both short distance micro environment control as well as long distance macro environment signalling.

Namely we have modeled melanoma metastasis as a quasi distinct organism using the human as a host and specifically using the host extracellular signalling as a means for allowing the stem cell to effect metastasis at a distance.

This laboratory effort is truly worth following.