Cancer forms when cell division [the process of making new cells] goes out of control. Current treatment for some cancers, particularly brain tumours, doesn't always stop cell division and the cancer comes back. So the search is on for different therapies. When developing new treatments, however, where should scientists start? Here we can see a slice from a glioblastoma – the most common form of brain tumour – stained with fluorescent proteins. The aggressively dividing tumour cells all share a protein called NG2 (stained green). This protein is already known to play a role in cell division but it’s now implicated in two further key steps to cancer. NG2 helps cells spread to other body regions, while also fostering the formation of new blood vessels that nourish the tumour. Blocking NG2 with drug therapy may present a new opportunity to improve patient survival.
Written by Julie Webb
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.