Scientists made a discovery that could lead them to a way to stop cancer cells before they metastasise and move through the body.  It’s a cell movement process they’re calling “chase and run”.

According to new research in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the researchers worked with neural crest cells, which behave similarly to cancer cells; and placode cells, which mimic healthy cells.

“We use the analogy of the donkey and the carrot to explain this behaviour: the donkey follows the carrot, but the carrot moves away when approached by the donkey,” study researcher Dr. Roberto Mayor, of University College London, said in a statement. “Similarly the neural crest cells follow the placode cells, but placode cells move away when touched by neural crest cells.”

They didn’t work with actual cancer cells, but the neural crest & placode experiment is likely comparable because of the similarities in the cells.  And knowing this method of cell movement puts them a step closer to developing treatments to stopping it.