Scientists have discovered a new way to potentially trap cancer cells before they spread.
Tumours cause cells called fibroblasts to stiffen the surrounding tissue so that cancer cells can grip it- allowing them to tunnel through to the blood stream and spread around the body.
Researchers have shown that adding experimental drugs reprograms fibroblasts stops them from ‘stiffening’ the tissue around tumours. This healthy tissue traps cancer cells and blocks their movement away from the tumour.
In the study, the researchers, use mice, show that targeting fibroblasts reduces the movement of cancer cells from the tumour to the lungs and liver through the blood stream.
Lead author Janine Erler of the University of Copenhagen said these fibroblasts were present in all solid tumours, and added that their findings might be relevant to many different cancer types., adding that the therapy they tested was used to treat inflammatory diseases and could be used to treat cancer patients.
The study is published in the Journal EMBO Reports.