Cancer wouldn't be able to spread if its cells couldn't independently detach, invade other areas of the body, and establish new cellular colonies. So it tracks, then, that targeting cellular motility could stop metastasis—an application that could offer new hope to millions of cancer patients.
That's why researchers continue to investigate the preclinical applications of motility-interrupting treatments for metastatic cancers, particularly for use in personalized medicine. The use of 2D cultures lets scientists conduct genetic and pharmacological screenings, while 3D models expand that promise in new ways by using extracellular matrices (ECMs) to establish recapitulating in vivo architectures.
Opportunities abound in cellular motility research, says Shabana Islam, Ph.D., a product line manager at Corning Life Sciences, and there are myriad assays to assess the role of cell motility in how tumors metastasize.
"The optimal approaches to inhibit cell motility to preempt metastasis depend on the type of cancer, where it has spread, previous treatments, and a patient's general health," Islam says.
Most oncological motility studies, in some way, study cellular evolution from detachment at the cancer's origin point to adhesion elsewhere in the body—and there's often a great deal of overlap between the many steps involved in that process.