New Model of Mitosis Could Facilitate Cancer Research

The Integrated Mitotic Stem Cell tool was created by the Allen Institute for Cell Science.


A new modeling tool developed by researchers at the Allen Institute for Cell Science shows 15 key cellular structures as they change shape or location, duplicate or disappear and then reassemble when cells go through the five stages of mitosis. The Integrated Mitotic Stem Cell program, therefore, provides scientists with the ability to investigate infinite combinations of cell structures during cell division.


The ability to see an overall picture of mitosis will also allow researchers to uncover “uncover new, unexpected relationships and ask and answer completely new questions about cell division,” according to the institute’s director, Rick Horwitz.


The modeling program was developed using similarly shaped representative healthy cells selected from its library of over 40,000 images for each stage of mitosis, producing a grid with 15 structures across the five stages. The addition of fluorescent protein tags using gene editing allows researchers to see the structures in human induced pluripotent stem cells.


By comparing the results for these healthy cells to those for cells that are cancerous or have other abnormalities, Horowitz believes it will be possible to gain insight into how cell division is affected and can lead to diseases.


Scientists at the Institute have already observed that all of the major changes in structure location and shapes appear to begin during early prometaphase, which is the second stage of mitosis


Cynthia A. Challener, Ph.D.

Dr. Challener is an established industry editor and technical writing expert in the areas of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. She writes for various corporations and associations, as well as marketing agencies and research organizations, including That’s Nice and Nice Insight.