Washington: Researchers have found that cancers physically alter cells in the lymphatic system - a network of vessels that transports and stores immune cells throughout the body - to promote the spread of disease, a process called metastasis.Roughly 90 percent of all cancer deaths are due to metastasis - the disease spreading from the original tumour site to multiple, distant tissues and finally overwhelming the patient`s body.Lymph vessels are often the path of transmission, with circulating tumour cells lodging in the lymph nodes - organs distributed throughout the body that act as immune system garrisons and traps for pathogens and foreign particles.Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center found that a protein growth factor expressed by tumours called VEGF-C activates a receptor called integrin a4beta1 on lymphatic vessels in lymph node tissues, making them more attractive and sticky to metastatic tumour cells.
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