Scientists have identified a component of cancer cells, which acts like a 'cellular post office', that may be the key to preventing the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body.
The findings could point towards new therapeutics, targeted at a particular communication mechanism in the cell.
This communication triggers a change in the scaffolding of the cell perimeter - altering from a fixed shape, attached to an organ, to a less stable one, moving freely around the body.
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The 'post office' of the cell, or the Golgi apparatus as it is more commonly known, has the ability to package proteins in order to transport them to other parts of the cell or to deliver them to areas outside of the cell.Researchers identified that a protein, called PAQR11, inside the 'cellular post office', receives a signal from another protein, called Zeb1; the communication between the two proteins prompts the transport of membrane sacks inside the Golgi.
These sacks, or vesicles, change their delivery routes and fundamentally alter the perimeter of the cancer cells making it possible for the cell to detach from its fixed position in the lung and travel to other areas of the body.