Despite decades of cancer research, the early phases of tumour progression that connect the appearance of few abnormal cells to the formation of a clinically detectable tumour mass remains poorly understood. It was previously proposed that certain mutations could give a competitive advantage to a subset of cells that would enable them to kill and replace their neighbours, thereby initiating a cancerous tumour. Yet, the mechanisms at the basis of such competition were not clear. Researchers from the Institut Pasteur and the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, have just discovered a new mechanism that may explain how tumoural cells can eliminate their neighbours and spread throughout the body.
In a study published two years ago, Eduardo Moreno from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown and Romain Levayer from the Institut Pasteur, identified a form of competition between cells that was not previously known, which they named mechanical competition…
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Image credit: Eduardo Moreno & Romain Levayer.