Home Doctor NewsOncology News Researchers have uncovered possible ‘electrical language’ of breast cancer cells

Researchers have uncovered possible ‘electrical language’ of breast cancer cells

by Pragati Singh

Variable voltages have been discovered in the membranes of breast cancer cells, offering insight into how the cells multiply and spread. The research, which is being done collaboratively by Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, may increase our knowledge of how cancer cells “decide” whether to multiply and where to spread. As cells acquire cancer, they undergo a multitude of bioelectric alterations. The cell membrane, which surrounds cells, for example, becomes more positively charged than healthy cell membranes.

This new study, published in the journal Communications Biology, revealed that breast cancer cells behaved similarly to neurons and had higher membrane voltages than healthy cells. According to the scientists, this might suggest to an electrical communication network between cancer cells that could one day be a target for disruption, leading to the creation of possible new therapies.

Dr Amanda Foust, a co-lead author from Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: “When healthy cells develop into cancerous cells, the changes they go through can aid in their growth and dissemination. For instance, we are aware that certain genes that regulate cell multiplication can become inactive, leading to unchecked cell growth.”
“We don’t yet know why the voltage of membranes fluctuates in cancer cells – but our discovery and technology, enabled by the exciting collaboration of engineers and biologists, opens doors to further work that could help us better understand cancer signalling networks and growth.”


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