Stairway to heaven
to migrate away from the tumour and ultimately move to other places in the body in a process known as metastasis.
“Cellular mobility makes cancers grow fast, and it makes cancers homogenous in the sense that cancer cells share a common set of mutations,” said Harvard’s Martin Nowak, who led the research. “I further believe that the ability to form metastases, which is what actually kills patients, is a consequence of selection for local migration.”
Driver mutations also play a role in drug resistance. If a small number of cells are resistant to a therapy, they can quickly replicate, causing a relapse of the cancer even if nearly all of the other cancerous cells are wiped out.
“Our approach does not provide a miraculous cure for cancer,” said the University of Edinburgh’s Bartek Waclaw, who was also involved in creating the new 3D model. “However, it suggests possible ways of improving cancer therapy. One of them could be targeting local cellular migration and not just growth, as standard therapies do.” SPACE ELEVATORS ARE the stuff of sci-fi dreams, taking astronauts into space without the need for fuel-guzzling rockets. But there’s one big problem: how do you build a structure tall enough, that’s also strong enough to support its own weight?
Canadian space company Thoth Technology thinks it has a solution. It has patented a freestanding space tower that’s composed of a series of pneumatic pressure cells. Each of these cells, made from a high-strength material such as Kevlar, is filled with pressurised gas, keeping the structure rigid as it gets buffeted by winds.
Reaching 20km (12 miles) into the sky, the elevator wouldn’t take astronauts directly into orbit. Instead, it’d be used as a takeoff and landing pad for single-stage space planes, which Thoth claims will save more than 30 per cent of the fuel when compared to conventional rockets. The electrical elevator could also ferry scientists and tourists back and forth. Beats a trip to Magaluf, anyway… Patent number: US 9,085,897
A 3D computer model is shedding new light on how tumours grow and, more importantly, spread
Thoth’s space elevator would be a landing pad
on a very tall pillar