Most tumors are made up of many different types of cancer cells (tumor heterogeneity), which often harbor unique genetic mutations. Researchers want to identify how different subgroups of cancer cells within a tumor affect the ability of cancer cells to metastasize or develop resistance to therapeutic agents. This image of a mouse model of pancreatic cancer shows multi-color lineage tracing ("confetti") and demonstrates that a sizeable number of metastases arise from heterogeneous cell clusters rather than the outgrowth of single cells.
This image was originally submitted as part of the 2016 NCI Cancer Close Up project and selected for exhibit.
Credit: Ravikanth Maddipati, Abramson Cancer Center at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health