A closer look at the tumor microenvironment (TME)

Oct 27, 2023

This animation delves deep into the tumor microenvironment (TME)a complex cellular domain in which a tumor resides

Take an immersive, cinematic journey through this thriving tumor microenvironment, showcasing the intricate biological landscape of an extracellular matrix, newly-forming blood vessels, cancer-associated fibroblasts, and various immune cells such as macrophages, T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, neutrophils, NK cells, and more.

Tumors are more than just masses of malignant cells. Although the composition of the TME varies between tumor types, in many cases, the actual tumor cells might comprise less than half of the tumor’s total mass. Our animation also highlights the newly-formed vasculature. These vessels not only sustain the TME with oxygen and nutrients but also provide a route for tumor cells to access the bloodstream and potentially metastasize to distant sites.

In this exploration, we also emphasize cell migration — a critical, multifaceted process shaped by various factors. Cells within the TME communicate with each other through an intricate network of signaling pathways that can influence immune response and surveillance, angiogenesis, tumor growth, metastasis, and resistance to therapies. There have been recent advancements in understanding the spatial arrangement and complex interrelationships of cells in the tumor microenvironment.

Ultimately, a tumor’s growth and potential to spread are shaped by several intertwined pathological events, including chronic inflammation, alterations and remodeling of the extracellular matrix, angiogenesis, immune system suppression, and cell migration.

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