Cell adhesion, the binding of a cell to the extracellular matrix (ECM), other cells, or a specific surface, is essential for the growth and survival of the cell and also its communication with other cells. The process of cell adhesion involves a range of biological events such as three-dimensional re-organization of the cytoskeleton, biochemical reactions in the cell, and changes in molecules on the surface of the cell. Cancer cells, especially the highly metastatic types, are believed to have enhanced adhesion ability that often facilitates the migration of the cells to a new site to establish new tumors in the body. Cell adhesion assay is therefore often used to evaluate the metastatic ability of cancer cells. In addition, the assay can also be used to assess the effect of certain treatment (e.g., exposure to chemicals) on the ability of cells to adhere. A modified cell adhesion assay protocol is described here for studying the interactions between cells and extracellular materials.
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