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Cancer Patient's Brain Cells Shed Light on How Cancer Spreads

    • 15 posts
    November 15, 2013 11:49 PM IST

    One of the great mysteries of cancer is how it spreads, or metastasizes, throughout the body. But researchers have made an important discovery that may help to solve that puzzle: Cancer cells may fuse with white blood cells in order to spread.

    Researchers at Yale University have discovered a metastasis in the brain of a cancer patient that likely grew from the hybrid of a cancer cell and a white blood cell.

    The researchers investigated a brain metastasis in a 68-year-old cancer patient who had been treated with a bone marrow transplant from his brother. Bone marrow produces the body's macrophages, a type of white blood cell, and the macrophages from donated bone marrow are genetically distinct from the bone marrow of the person who receives them.

    It turned out that the brain metastasis contained genes from both the patient and his brother.

    "This tumor was clearly a donor-patient hybrid," said John Pawelek, a cancer biologist at the YaleSchool of Medicine. "That's really exciting — that's the first proof of cell fusion in human cancer." Pawelek and his colleagues detailed their findings June 26 in the journal PLOS ONE.

    These findings could lead to new targets for drugs that could attack such hybrids to prevent the spread of cancers, scientists said.

    Most people who succumb to cancer die when it metastasizes — tumors are typically more treatable before they spread. In metastasis, cells somehow acquire the means to break away from their original (primary) tumor, migrate past other cells, travel around the body via blood or lymph vessels, invade tissues and grow in the uncontrolled manner typical of cancers.

    • 2 posts
    November 17, 2013 3:38 PM IST

    shravya yennam nice post.. Thank your for the information.

    • Moderator
    • 13 posts
    November 17, 2013 4:59 PM IST

    hey very useful information keep it up Sharvya... 

    • 15 posts
    November 18, 2013 4:10 PM IST

    Thank u so much........................


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