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New research shows cancer cells latch on and attack certain types of tissue over others

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s a question that’s puzzled doctors for decades: Why does cancer spread to where it spreads? Well, scientists may finally have an answer. 

Researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering found that cancerous cells tend to migrate and latch on to tissues depending on the stiffness of the body’s internal environment. 

The study team assessed brain and breast cancer cells. They found the cancer cells were more drawn to invade and attack the softer parts of both the brain and breast.  

“We’re basically decoding how cancer cells invade tissue,” lead study author, Dr. David Odde, said in a statement. “They don’t just move randomly. They actually have particular ways in which they like to move, and if we can understand that, we may be able to trip them up.”

The study is published in the current issue of Nature Materials.