Motor Control: How Does a Cancer Cell Power its Movement?

This image, captured by a team of researchers at the Koch Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, shows a microscopic device for analyzing how cancer cells move and migrate in the body.

Salil Desai, Sangeeta Bhatia, Mehmet Toner and Daniel Irimia
Koch Institute at MIT and Center for Engineering in Medicine, MGH
Epi-Fluorescence and Phase Contrast Micrograph

Much of the deadly impact of cancer is due to metastasis, the spread of cancer cells to distant tissues.  But what drives a cancer cell’s movementthrough the body?  Here, researchers investigate the role of mitochondria, the “powerhouses” inside cancer cells, as the cells travel through tiny fluid-filled channels.

Salil Desai explains how and why he took this image of cancer cells moving through microscopic channels.