Mapping out cancer's movements
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IMAGE: Cancer researchers struggle to identify tumor cells that are interspersed within nonmalignant tissues because tumor cells exploit the tissue environment and monopolize available resources to continue growing. Researchers attribute cancer… view more 

Credit: Dan Graham and Blake Bluestein

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2018 — Cancer researchers struggle to identify tumor cells that are interspersed within nonmalignant tissues because tumor cells exploit the tissue environment and monopolize available resources to continue growing. Researchers attribute cancer cell’s ability to use cell signaling and metabolic pathways that override normal cell growth restrictions to complicated chemical exchanges between tissue and tumor cells. A new approach shows promise to begin analyzing cell-to-cell interactions in this complex environment.

Researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated a new technique for mapping the flow of biomolecules in and around solid tumors. In a special issue of Biointerphases, an AVS journal from AIP Publishing, that is highlighting women in the field of biointerface science, the group uses time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to observe how molecules move and how tumors send signals to their microenvironment and sap local tissue of resources.

“People are going to see that this TOF-SIMS technique, when combined with knowledge of

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