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Grand Challenge Awards- Challenge 5: Find a way of mapping tumours at the molecular and cellular level
February 12, 2016
Cancer cells live in complex communities. Just like houses in a city, each cell in a tumour is different from its neighbour, and relies on infrastructure to support its existence.
There are different neighbourhoods–some worse than others. Where we have roads, tumours contain blood vessels that deliver nutrients, and act as highways for different cell types to move around. And when a tumour spreads, the cancer cells themselves use these blood ‘roads’ to migrate.
What we really need is a Google Earth-like view of a tumour. If we could make a 3D map, we’d find new targets for treatment and, eventually, could use this view to track what’s going on in real time, such as in response to treatment.