About the episode
Breast cancer often develops in one of the mammary glands in the breast. If it stays there, it can usually be treated well. But when the cancer cells break through and spread, things become a lot more difficult.
Knowing how breast cancer cells escape is therefore extremely important. One way they do this is by using chemicals to slowly break down the membrane that holds them back. If it weakens enough, an opening may arise.
But now researchers at Stanford have discovered that they are also using another tactic. And it is mechanical. The cells work together as a group to stretch the membrane like a balloon and eventually rupture it.
This cooperation between cells had previously been overlooked because the focus was often on individual cells and the substances they produce, the researchers say.
Because these substances are only part of the tactic, treatments that alone counteract this did not help enough. With this new knowledge, the researchers hope to ultimately improve the treatment of this form of breast cancer.
Read more about the research here: Breast cancer cells collaborate to break free and invade into the surrounding tissue