July 17, 2012 | by Darrin Joy
Early in the 1977 movie “Star Wars,” the character Obi-Wan Kenobi utters this iconic line, and with a wave of his hand (and a healthy dose of the Force), fools a group of imperial storm troopers into overlooking his small band of fugitive rebels.
Unfortunately, many cancers seem to have found their own version of this trick. But like Jedi knights gone rogue, they use it to a much darker purpose — they fool the body into letting tumor cells grow and spread.
City of Hope researchers found that some cancers hijack certain blood-forming cells, called myeloid cells, for their own purposes. These cells travel to other parts of the body and dupe normal tissues into creating a welcoming environment for wandering tumor cells looking for a new home.