How does breast cancer spread? Johns Hopkins cell biologist explains

Andy Ewald discusses recent discovery of cell type linked to metastasis

Hub staff report / January 29, 2014 Posted in Health Tagged breast cancer, cancer, biology

Here's something pretty wonderful we just stumbled upon.

In this video, Johns Hopkins cell biologist Andy Ewald explains how breast cancer spreads. Using Play-Doh. And colored beads.

It's the first installment in an occasional Johns Hopkins Medicine video series called "Science: Out of the Box," in which complex science is explained in simple, easy-to-understand terms. With children's modeling clay, apparently.

Ewald and his team at the Center for Cell Dynamics have recently pinpointed a specific cell type that helps different breast tumors metastatize. This is a big deal, Ewald explains, because if scientists can turn off the gene linked to that cell type—called leader cells—then they can stop the cancer from spreading. And if they can stop it from spreading, then its easier to treat effectively.

But don't take our word for it—let Ewald explain by mushing, stretching, and tearing Play-Doh. He's better at it, and it's much more entertaining.

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