New method converts Breast Cancer Cells into fat Cells

An innovative combination therapy can force malignant breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells.

Researchers at the University of Basel’s Department of Biomedicine, reported in the journal Cancer Cell, that a new method can be used to prevent the formation of metastases in mice.

Above, cancer cells marked in green and a fat cell marked in red on the surface of a tumor (left). After treatment (right), three former cancer cells have been converted into fat cells. The combined marking in green and red causes them to appear dark yellow.  (Image credit University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine)

Tumor cells can adapt dynamically to changing conditions thanks to their ability to reactivate a cellular process that is central to embryonic development. This allows the cells to alter their molecular properties and to acquire new capabilities.

As a result, resident cells can adopt the properties of other cell types and break away from their cell cluster. Once mobile, the cells migrate via the bloodstream to other regions of the body, where they undergo a further conversion before taking root and forming new tissue structures.

source University of Basel