Washington Mar 29 (UNI) A new method of filming blood-vessel cells has been developed by researchers at Uppsala University.
Formation of new cells is sometimes desirable, e.g. in the event of wound healing, when new tissue are formed. Undesirable vessel formation takes place in the event of tumour growth. The tumour receives nutrition from the new blood vessels and can also spread via newly formed lymph vessels, thus prevention of vessel growth is desirable in this situation.
"The method can basically be adapted to facilitate study of all types of cells. It is particularly important to study the mechanisms that determine whether or not cancer cells spread," says researcher Johan Kreuger in the Science daily who has been heading the project.
A major challenge in the field of medicine is understanding the signals governing the way vessels are formed. It has been proposed that targeted signals -- so-called gradients -- from growth factors instruct the vessels as to the direction in which they are to grow.
"Our study shows that a simple gradient from a signal protein is sufficient to tell the blood vessel cell in which direction it is to move. We have also been able to show that the form of the gradient governs the way in which the cell moves," says Irmeli Barkefors, a postgraduate student at Uppsala University.
The research group is now going to develop the method further.
The aim is to be able to study targeted migration in complicated organ culture systems, whereby interaction between different cell types can be studied.
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