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To Stop the Spread


A team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School says that molecular investigations into circulating tumor cells could facilitate the identification of candidate therapeutic targets to stop the spread of cancer. In a paper published online in advance in Nature this week, Harvard's Daniel Haber and his colleagues report on their use of single-molecule RNA-seq to identify candidate genes enriched in circulating tumor cells from an endogenous mouse pancreatic cancer model. They found Wnt2 to be one such gene, and thus suggest that WNT signaling may somehow be involved in metastasis. "In humans, formation of non-adherent tumor spheres by pancreatic cancer cells is associated with upregulation of multiple WNT genes, and pancreatic CTCs [circulating tumor cells] revealed enrichment for WNT signaling in five out of 11 cases," Haber et al. write in Nature.