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Cancer cells on the move

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7519.716-b (Published 29 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:716
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

    The ability of cancer cells to move about is vividly illustrated in the photograph that won first place in the medicine and life category of the 2005 Visions of Science awards this week.

    The photograph shows a cancer cell migrating across a matrix, with the cell caught moving through a pore in the material used for its culture. It was taken by Anne Weston, scientific officer in the electron microscopy department at the charity Cancer Research UK. She explained: “This cell was part of a sample in an ongoing project investigating tumour biology. We were fortunate enough to find the cell in the process of passing through a pore and thought that it nicely illustrated a cell in motion.”

    Understanding cell migration is an important part of cancer research. This is because cells that would not normally migrate start to move when they become cancerous. This metastasis is the key difference between a benign and malignant cancer. It is hoped that understanding how cancers cells migrate might result in new approaches to treating cancers.

    The photograph was taken with a JEOL FEG 6700 scanning electron microscope and coloured using Adobe Photoshop.

    More photographs from the competition can be found at http://www.visions-of-science.co.uk/.

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