Our recent study in collaboration with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York shows the first direct measurement of the forces that protrusions in cancer cells can apply when they invade.
Many cancers form invadopodia, tiny protrusions about a thousandth of a millimetre in size, that promote invasion of healthy tissue by releasing enzymes which digest the surrounding tissue. We found that the force invadopodia exert is linked to their ability to degrade extracellular matrix material.
The study led by PhD student Elena Dalaka utilized ERISM (Elastic Resonator Interference Stress Microscopy), an interferometric force imaging technique developed in our lab, to measure invadopodial forces in cells of head and neck squamous carcinoma with pico-Newton resolution.
Press release issued by University of St Andrews: https://news.st-andrews.ac.uk/archive/the-force-of-cancer/
Link to original publication in Science Advances: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax6912