(NEWSER) – University of Iowa researchers are believed to be the first to capture, in real time, the movements of cancerous breast tissue cells as they form tumors. And what they saw could lead to a better understanding not only of these cells but of the antibodies that can eliminate them.

The researchers, who have published their findings in the American Journal of Cancer Research and PLOS One, discovered that cancerous cells actively pull healthy cells into tumors, according to a press release. Moreover, just 5% of cancerous cells are required to form a tumor, a previously unknown figure. "It's not like things are sticking to each other," researcher David Soll says. "These cells go out and actively recruit." Researchers found that individual cancer cells—such as those from lung, skin, and brain cancers—extend themselves outward in search of other cells. Upon finding one, "it latches and pulls it in," adding to the size of a tumor.

Photo: University of Iowa/YouTube

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