UMass researchers to study metastasized cancer

Current treatments for cancer metastasized to bones are to slow the cancer’s progression.
Current treatments for cancer metastasized to bones are to slow the cancer’s progression. | File photo
University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers will study cancer that has metastasized to bones and other organs using a $425,000 grant from the National Science Foundations.
 
“After metastasis occurs, patient prognosis dramatically declines due to severe skeletal-related complications, including bone destruction,” associate professors Maureen Lynch and Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi said. “Mechanical signaling, which results from physical activity imparting forces on the skeleton, is inherent to the bone microenvironment and is critical for healthy bone remodeling. Though metastatic cancer cells are exposed to these same signals when they arrive in the skeleton, their role in metastasis in unclear.”
 
Current treatments for cancer metastasized to bones are to slow the cancer’s progression, but Lynch and Modarres-Sadeghi believe multiple factors likely spur on metastasis and are working to see how mechanical signaling fits into the process.
 
“The results of this project will transform our fundamental understanding of how tumor cells are regulated in the skeletal microenvironment with considerable potential to improve clinical management of the disease,” Lynch and Modarres-Sadeghi said. “The data collected from these studies will form the foundation for defining the role of mechanical stimulation during bone metastasis.”

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