Scientists Discover How Cancer Cells ‘Hijack’ Cells and Spread Around the Body

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Many patients with cancers die as a result of metastasis, a process whereby the cancer spreads from the primary organ to other organs around the body.

“These findings are among the most important to have come out of my lab for three decades,” said Richard Gilbertson, one of the leading researchers of a recent study and the director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

Researchers from the U.K. and the U.S. collaborated in a September study published in Nature Genetics to uncover how cancer cells “hijack” normal cells to metastasize around the body. They identified a protein, NALCN, as a key that regulates metastasis.

“If validated through further research, this could have far-reaching implications for how we prevent cancer from spreading and allow us to manipulate this process to repair damaged organs,” Gilbertson said.

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