New Analysis Method Helps Researchers Understand Tumor Growth

According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, a new method of using mass spectrometry allowed researchers at the University of Vienna to study fibroblast tumor growth in human tissue for the first time.

While stroma cells have been widely recognized for influencing tumor growth, activities that promote tumors in breast fibroblasts have not been directly determined until now. Researchers do not yet understand if a diseased state in the fibroblasts support the beginning stages of a tumor or if tumor-stroma cells are responsible for the development of diseased stroma.

Using mass spectrometry, researchers identified several thousand individual proteins from tissue gathered in a needle biopsy, allowing further investigation into the functional cell state of fibroblasts. The fibroblasts displayed strong wound-healing activity that directly promoted the growth of the tumor. This is the fist documented instance of what was previously only suspected to occur.

"It is therefore feasible for us to determine to which extent such activities are present and relevant in individual patient samples." Georg Pfeiler, professor at the Medical University of Vienna, said in a statement. He adds that this is the first step to planning pharmacological interference in the future.

The analysis method used in the study may now be used to test drug candidates that interfere with undesired cell activities in a purposeful way.

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