In this article, Cancer cells use nerve-cell tricks to spread from one organ to the next, it explores how cancer cells are able to reproduce and spread into the bloodstream and other organs as well. Specifically in Breast and Lung Cancer, the cells are able to create signaling pathways that neurons use, in order to metastasis, or reproduce. I am really interested in going into the medical field so I decided to choose an article that relates to current research. Cancer research relates back to the basics of cells, which is such a crucial foundation to learning biology. I found it interesting how this article spoke about cell reproduction and organic compounds as well. It is neat to learn about current research after learning the fundamentals of biology throughout this unit. 

Sohail Tavazoie, a scientist, found that cells located in the inner blood vessels can tell the cancer cells to metastasize in the tumor. Tumors are able to attach to the body’s nutrient supply and oxygen. I wanted to find out a little bit more about metastasis so I read an article to learn more about it and better my understanding of the process. Metastasis is when cancer spreads to another part of the body from where it started originally. Metastases, the plural of metastasis form when some of the cancer breaks off from the cell and enters the bloodstream. These metastases carry fluid and can form tumors in other locations in the body. Bernardo Tavora, who is a research associate, used a modified version of TRAP, which was developed in Nathaniel Heinz’s lab. This helps to pinpoint subtle differences between cells that are similar and have produced similar proteins. To further develop my knowledge and research of TRAP, I read this articleIn this article I learned that TRAP stands for Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification. TRAP has been used to study the aging of neurons to further research diseases such as Huntington’s Disease. In order to use this technique, scientists needed to understand translation. When DNA turns into mRNA in the nucleus it is transported to the cytoplasm or the ER. This is then recognized by ribosomes and then the ribosomes turn the mRNA into proteins. 

Cancer cells replicating

Tavora and his colleagues discovered that the signal is Slit2, which is a protein that is made by neurons. Slit2 helps to guide nerve-cell extensions when they go through different parts of the brain. Researchers found that cancer cells use a process to make blood-vessel cells make and release Slit2. This dose helps the cancer cells to start spreading throughout the body, making the cancer worse. The cells activate DNA so that it makes RNA, and then it acts like a signal, which triggers them to move into the bloodstream and other organs. This protein along with other molecules could help with diagnostics. Doctors could identify cancers that have left the primary tumor before it is too late. This could also help develop drugs to stop metastasis in cancer cells. 

This topic raketes a lot to what we have learned in biology so far this year. Cancer is made up of cells which can multiply and spread to other parts of the body through reproduction, or metastasis in this case. We learned about Slit2 which is the protein made by neurons, and helps to guide nerve-cell extensions. The cancer cells can use this protein to “trick” and then spread throughout the body by acting like a signal. We also learned that proteins are transported from cell to cell by being released from the plasma membrane. Proteins are crucial for many functions in the body such as speeding up chemical reactions, responding to stimuli, etx. 

This article helped me to understand how biology works in research and how the fundamentals are so pertinent to understanding complex research. 


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