Do Dead Cancer Cells Fuel Metastasis?

by Caperton Gillett

UAB Medicine, Summer 2011

 

An electron-microscope closeup of a dead cancer cellEven after cancer has been defeated with chemotherapy, metastasis is a risk that cancer patients and their physicians must face. But could the dead cancer cells actually encourage metastasis? A team of UAB researchers led by Katri Selander, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of hematology-oncology, is investigating the possibility--and the potential for groundbreaking new cancer treatments that could result.

"When you kill cancer cells with commonly used cytotoxic drugs, the 'broken' DNA is released from those dead cells," Selander says. "We have discovered that when you feed the released, 'chopped-up' DNA back to living cells, this causes pro-invasive effects in the living cancer cells."

 

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