Just like the X-Men, mutations endow cancer cells with unique abilities that normal, healthy cells just don’t have. For example, cancer cells, unlike normal ones, can invade other cells, causing the disease to metastasize to new tissues in the body and put the patient’s life further at risk.
Metastatic cancer, or a cancer that spreads to other parts of the body, causes more than 90 percent of cancer deaths. Doctors constantly monitor patients’ blood to make sure that cancer cells haven’t broken off from the original tumor and started spreading, but these cells are difficult to detect, making the tests inefficient. Now a team of researchers has developed a tiny implantable sponge that can soak up these cancer cells so that doctors can intervene before the cancer settles in, according to a study published yesterday inNature Communications.