In search of a clue as to how cancer cells move so quickly through the human body, biomedical engineer William Wang of the University of Michigan unexpectedly discovered the "cell slingshot" mechanism. This is a completely new type of cell migration, which is at least five times faster than others. And this surprised scientists a lot - they did not expect anything like this from the human body.
To capture and validate the effect, Wang used 3D printed wireframes instead of traditional Petri dishes. They consisted of stromal tissue, the fibers of which were flexible and strong enough to function as a "string". Wang watched as the cage pressed against the tissue, creating tension, which then literally shoots it out, throwing it far ahead.
And this process is not at all spontaneous - the cells "know" where they need to move, while migration proceeds at an accelerated pace, in comparison with the usual constant movement of cells in the human body. Scientists have already observed this unusual process indirectly by studying the ultra-rapid spread of cancer cells from the main tumor. But now it turned out that shooting inside tissues is inherent in other types of cells.
Studying the mechanism of cell shooting at the very beginning, and so far there are more questions than answers. Scientists hope that they will learn to control this process, because this promises a breakthrough in the fight not only against cancer, but also many other diseases. Theoretically, it will be possible to accelerate many of the usual processes of the effect of drugs on certain parts of the body by a factor of several, and thereby achieve a phenomenal rate of healing for patients.