Cell Tracking Allows Penn Researchers to See Metastasis


January 20, 2012

Penn Medicine News Press Release

PHILADELPHIA - Ben Stanger, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and Andrew Rhim, MD, a Gastroenterology Fellow in the Stanger lab, discovered that pancreatic cancer cells in an animal model begin to spread before clinically obvious tumor tissue is detected. What’s more, they showed that inflammation enhances cancer progression in part by facilitating a cellular transformation that leads to entry of cancer cells into the circulation. They report their findings this week in Cell.

Metastasis has been difficult to study because it involves a series of unpredictable events. To capture these events, the team developed a sensitive method to tag and track pancreatic epithelial cells in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Tagged cells invaded and entered the bloodstream unexpectedly early, before overt malignancy could be detected by rigorous analysis of tissue slides... Read More