The blood vessel, on the left of this image, is a critical nutrient channel for the melanoma tumour seen at the right.
This image arises from research underway by a team led by Beate Heissig at the University of Tokyo Institute of Medical Science.
The scientists have identified a link between the progress of melanomas – which account for 1% of skin cancer cases by the majority of skin cancer deaths – and two molecules, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1).
“It’s surprising that LRP1 is also regulating cancer growth and spread,” says Heissig. “It’s normally a receptor for fat molecules.”
The research is published in the FASEB Journal.