Model Captures ‘Spontaneous’ Cell Transition to Metastasis in Prostate Cancer Study

Model Captures ‘Spontaneous’ Cell Transition to Metastasis in Prostate Cancer Study
How prostate cancer turns metastatic and begins to spread — the first stage in what can become a deadly disease — takes place through a process not fully understand in this or any cancer. But researchers in the U.K. developed a cell model for prostate cancer that may help to unravel what is now a bit of a mystery. The study, "A novel spontaneous model of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) using a primary prostate cancer derived cell line demonstrating distinct stem-like characteristics," was published in the journal Scientific Reports. The process that allows cancer cells to move from a stationary state, in which they are tightly attached to neighboring cells, into a migratory one — in which cells loosen connections, change shape, and start invading nearby tissues — is called the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Similar to many other cancers, EMT is believed to play a critical role in the spread of prostate cancer, but the lack of models has hindered research into the metastatic process. Indeed, cell lines for prostate cancer research are still being derived from prostate cancer metastases, as it has been difficult to establish cell lines from a primary tumor. "To our knowledge, we are the first to derive and interrogate a spontaneous model of prostate cancer EMT," the researchers said. "Cancer cells acquire the capacity to move from the primary tumour to other sites by activating biological processes which allow them to survive the journey and establish themselves in their new 'home,'" Dr. David Boocock, a scientist in Nott
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