Researchers at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB- Free University of Brussels) have identified for the first time the various stages of cell transitions occurring in a skin cancer and two types of breast cancer, and the sub-populations of tumour cells responsible for metastases of those cancers, various media reported on Thursday. The research, led by Professor Cédric Blanpain, was published on Wednesday in the prestigious Nature magazine and is a highly promising advance in the fight against cancer.
By studying the roles of various populations of cancer cells at different stages of a cancer, the researchers observed six sub-categories of malignant cells. These play a crucial role in the development of the cancer and its metastases.
The new information will be used in developing new strategies for blocking the progress of cancerous tumors and their spreading.
The ULB scientists, in partnership with the KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) and Erasmus Hospital were able to observe these particularities of the “cell family” and the various roles of each cell in a tumour, by isolating cell families and sequencing individual cells.