New Clue Discovered for How and Why Cancer Cells Spread; International Research Team Uncovers Potential New Drug Target (Milieu Viscosity) to Stop Deadly Metastases Responsible for 90 Per Cent of Cancer Deaths

An international team of researchers has uncovered a new mechanism that enables cancer cells to move throughout the body, providing a potential new target to stop metastasis, which is responsible for 90 per cent of cancer deaths. In findings published in Nature on November 2, 2022, the team determined that cancer cells move faster when they are surrounded by thicker fluids, a change that occurs when lymph drainage is compromised by a primary tumor. The open-access article is titled “Extracellular Fluid Viscosity Enhances Cell Migration and Cancer Dissemination.” “This is really the first time that the viscosity of the extracellular fluid has been looked at in detail,” says Dr. John D. Lewis, Professor and Bird Dogs Chair in Translational Oncology at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “Now that we know that fluid viscosity signals cancer cells to move in a specific way, we can potentially use drugs to basically short-circuit that signalling pathway and encourage cancer cells to slow down, or even maybe to stop.” 

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