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pancreatic organoids
To trace the cause of metastasis in pancreatic cancer, the CSHL team used cells sampled from 6 mice to grow paired sets of pancreatic organoids — balls of cells that develop in 3-D culture. The mice had gene mutations that induced pancreatic ductal cancer. In each of the mice, normal pancreatic ductal cells were compared with cells from the same animals in three distinct stages: pre-malignant, malignant, and metastatic. In this way, the team was certain to be comparing "apples to apples." Experiments revealed that cancer cells became capable of metastasis via an epigenetic reprogramming of gene enhancers, reverting them to an earlier developmental state characterized by proliferation and increased mobility. Read more
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