Research on blood platelets is currently being conducted at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The team, which is part of the Comparative Angiogenesis Laboratory, is led by Drs. Camillo Bulla and Kari Lunsford. Dr. Bulla explained that “cancers need the creation of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, to survive and grow, and tumors are able to create new blood vessels as pathways to travel and spread.” This has encouraged the team to look at the way platelets interact with tumor cells as they attempt to spread to the area surrounding the tumor or metastasize to distant sites in the body.
Dr. Lunsford adds that “we know that metastasizing tumor cells need platelets but it is not yet known what the platelets do for the migrating (metastasizing) tumor. This is one of the questions we hope to help answer.” To perform this research, he lab developed a new way to separate platelets from blood samples with a minimal amount of contamination. In fact, this new technique has garnered the interest of researchers all over the country, who wish to learn and benefit from it.
While the team’s primary focus is on canine cancer, because there is a clear link between cancer in animals and humans, their research will likely benefit people in the future as well. You can read more about their research in this article.