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Like geese and race cars, cancer cells draft their way to new sites

Cynthia Reinhart-King | Via Vanderbilt Engineering | March 30, 2019

NASCAR has nothing on cancer cells when it comes to exploiting the power of drafting, letting someone else do the hard work of moving forward while you coast behind.

Building on the relatively new discovery that metastatic cancer cells leave tumors and travel in clusters, not singles, a Vanderbilt University team of biomedical engineers learned the process is aided by leader-follower behavior. Like race car drivers and geese, the front cell expends vastly more energy making its way forward through tissue to establish a new tumor site. When it tires, it moves to the back of the cluster, and a cell from behind that’s been saving energy begins leading… Continue reading.

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