Finding the Achilles heel of cancer
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IMAGE: Healthy cells (left image) display four centrioles, a normal number (in yellow). On the contrary, breast cancer cells (triple negative) have extra centrioles (here 16, right image). view more 

Credit: Gaëlle Marteil, IGC.

A research team led by Monica Bettencourt Dias, from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal), discovered important features of cancer cells that may help clinicians fighting cancer.

The researchers observed that the number and size of tiny structures that exist inside cells, called centrioles, are increased in the most aggressive sub-types of cancer. This study will be published in Nature Communications* on the 28th of March.

Cancer is a very diverse disease with some tumours being more aggressive and more resistant to chemotherapy than others. Clinicians are eager to find novel diagnostic, prognostic and treatment tools that allow them to predict outcomes and treat patients in a more personalised way. The study now published may contribute to this process.

About 100 times smaller than the cross section of a hair, centrioles have been called the cell´s “brain”, as they play crucial roles in cell multiplication, movement and communication. Their number and size are highly controlled in normal cells. Since their discovery, more than one century

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