There are many unanswered questions about how and why cancer spreads around the body. But one thing we do know is that only some cancers metastasise.
It can be strange to think of cancer cells not dividing, but sleeping cancer cells could help to explain why some cancers come back after treatment.
Cancer treatments can work in lots of different ways, aiming to kill tumour cells or keep them under control. Ideally they cause tumours to shrink, but they can also be considered successful if they stop tumours growing. But unfortunately, the effects don’t always last forever.
Scientists have developed an entirely new way to look at tumours. And it’s helped them solve the mystery of how some pancreatic tumours develop.
Anh Hoang Le, a PhD student at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, studies two proteins that we know curiously little about: CYRI-A and CYRI-B.
We look at the research made possible by people who donate their bodies after their death, including helping scientists understand how advanced cancers spread.
It’s hard to talking about cancers ‘knowing’ something, but they can have predictable patterns of spread. And scientists are beginning to understand why.