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Finnish researchers found a new mechanism inhibiting the spread and growth of cancer found in motile cells



A revolutionary discovery regarding motile cancer cells made by research scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the University of Turku is challenging previous conceptions. The results have been published on 25 July 2011 in the Journal of Cell Biology, one of the most renowned journals in the field.

It has long been held that cells use different mechanisms for regulating migration and growth. This conception was proven false by research scientists Anja Mai and Stefan Veltel from the research team of Professor Johanna Ivaska. Their findings on aggressively spreading breast cancer cells revealed – completely contrary to previous expectations – that a single cell protein (p120RasGAP) acts as an important inhibitor of both cell migration and growth.

Cancer cells are characterised by traits such as uncontrollable growth and the ability to metastasise. The findings of the research team now show that the regulation of these two deadly traits in cells is interconnected, which may be an important piece of information in the future development of medicines.

Johanna Ivaska has been interviewed in the journal’s podcast (, which highlights a handful of leading international studies each month. The interview can be heard in the podcast archive of the journal: