London, Dec 6 (UNI) In a major breakthrough, scientists found that three dimensional cell scans could help provide new clues to stop the deadly spread of cancer.
Using the method of ''cryo-electron tomography'', researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, have shown how protein building blocks are arranged in a single cell.
The team focused on a class of proteins called cadherins, which play a key role in enabling cells in skin and other organs to stick together, and which form a barrier for a tumour to overcome before spreading through the body.
Group leader Achilleas Frangakis said,''Never before has it been possible to look in three dimensions at a tissue so close to its native state at such a high resolution. We can now see details at the scale of a few millionths of a millimetre. In this way we have gained a new view on the interactions of molecules that underlie cell adhesion in tissues-- a mechanism that has been disputed over decades.'' The team focused on the cadherin proteins that are crucial for the integrity of tissues and organs like the skin and the heart, but also play an important role in the spread of cancer, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Low levels of E-cadherin indicate a substantially increased risk of metastasis, the spread of cancer that makes the disease difficult to treat.