Colorado study shows how to make (and destroy) a metastatic cancer cell

IMAGE: Colorado study shows that inhibiting the lysosomal stage of autophagy (and not necessarily the action of the autophagosome) may kill metastatic cancer cells. view more 

Credit: University of Colorado Cancer Center

Many cancers become especially dangerous only when they metastasize from their site of origin to faraway tissues such as lung, brain or bone. Now, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a new strategy against these metastatic cells: By turning off an important step of cellular recycling, metastatic cancer cells become unable to survive the stresses of traveling through the body to seed sites of metastasis.

“Highly metastatic cells leave their happy home and have all these stresses on them. One way that the cell is able to deal with stresses is through disposing of cellular wastes or damaged cell components and recycling them. When we turn off the activity of cellular structures called lysosomes, which a cell uses to do this recycling, the metastatic cells become unable to survive these stresses,” says Michael J. Morgan, PhD, assistant research professor at CU Cancer Center and now assistant professor at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Morgan


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