Researchers are improving our understanding of cancer on a microscopic scale by using a unique combination of biology and physics techniques. They have shown why some cancerous cells respond to certain medical interventions.
The study authors examined mutated cells and how they reacted to different combinations of antibody therapies.
“Cells are able to sense their outside environment through groups of molecules called receptors,” one of the authors said. “In normal circumstances, these receptors send signals to a cell telling it what to do – for example grow, move or die – based on its environment. However, in some cancer cells receptors can carry mutations that cause them to malfunction. This usually causes the cell to grow out of control.”
Using sophisticated optical techniques – generally associated with the world of physics – the researchers were able to take a close look at how faulty receptors responded to two different types of antibody treatment.