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“Sweet Spot” Found by Scientists for Cancer Cells

Scientists have found a "Sweet spot" for cancer cells. Get checked


Scientists have found a “Sweet spot” for cancer cells. Get checked. A research team seeking to better understand the movement of cancer cells has made an important breakthrough by describing the sweet spot where they like to congregate. The discovery provides valuable new information about the migration of cancer cells as they enter the body and could open up new possibilities for stopping them.

"Sweet Spot" Found by Scientists for Cancer Cells"
“Sweet Spot” Found by Scientists for Cancer Cells

The study, led by scientists at the University of Minnesota, builds on previous work in which the group found that cells have the ability to sense the harshness of their environment. This may be the rigid nature of the bone material, the softer surrounding adipose tissue, or the average stiffness of the muscle tissue in between.

Scientists have always believed that cells naturally gravitate towards harsher environments, but in their latest work, the authors show that this is not necessarily the case. In the experiments, brain and breast cancer cells were placed between two environments, one that was harder and one that was softer, and the researchers noticed for the first time that the cells could gravitate toward the center, which the researchers called the “sweet spot.”

“I think this discovery will change the way people think about this phenomenon. Our mathematical model predicted, and we showed through experiments, that cells can indeed move to a softer environment, said study author David Odde.


Odde and his team looked at both brain cancer cells and breast cancer cells during the study. They put cells between two environments—one that was stiffer and one that was softer—and watched where the cells gathered.

The research team also found that some cells, like the breast cancer cells they looked at, have a feedback mechanism that makes them stick more strongly to stiffer environments. This explains why many earlier studies showed cells moving to the stiffer side. But if you change the genes so that this mechanism doesn’t work, the cells will move more toward the middle.


Odde said, “We’re basically figuring out how cancer cells get into tissue.” “They don’t move for no reason. They like to move in certain ways, and if we can figure out what those are, we might be able to catch them off guard.

The next step for the researchers is to use this information to build a simulator that shows how cancer cells move through an entire tumor. This will help them predict how cells will move based on their environments.

The study is in Nature Materials, a scientific journal that covers many different fields and is reviewed by experts in those fields.

In a previous study, a team led by the University of Minnesota found that cells can sense the stiffness of their environment, which ranges from hard (bone tissue) to soft (fatty tissue) to medium (muscle tissue), and that their ability to move depends on that environment. Their research showed that the cells can have a “sweet spot” of stiffness that is neither too hard nor too soft. In this spot, the cells have better traction and can move faster.

In this study, the researchers found that the stiffness of the environment affects not only the speed at which cells move but also the direction in which they move.

Scientists thought for a long time that cells always moved toward a more rigid environment, but University of Minnesota researchers saw for the first time that cells can move toward a “sweet spot” that’s more in the middle.

“This discovery challenges the current thinking in the field, which is that cells only move toward environments that are stiffer,” said David Odde, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and the study’s lead author. “I think this discovery will change the way people think about this thing. Our mathematical model predicted that cells can move toward the softer side, and experiments have shown that this is true.

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