A cluster of cells with (top) weak; (middle) intermediate; (bottom) strong adhesion attempts to transit through a constriction with diameter half of the cell diameter. The cluster breaks up if the adhesion is weak, and the cluster becomes stuck if the adhesion is too strong. A optimal range of adhesion allowed the cell cluster to pass through.
We collaborated with the Toner group at MGH to study how cell clusters could transit through constrictions such as the interstitial regions in the blood vessel. We found an optimal range of inter-cellular adhesion that allows the cluster to transit without breaking up or becoming stuck. This suggested that by interfering with the inter-cellular adhesion, extravasation of cancer cell clusters through the blood vessel may be disrupted.
Au et al, PNAS (2016)