3D model reveals secrets of metastasis A cancer cell breaks away from a primary tumor and settles in a new location, where it once more divides. Pharmaceutical companies use simplistic two-dimensional assays for this process typically, which is known as metastasis, to evaluate anti-cancers therapeutics. In these assays, cells crawl over the surface of a matrix, vacationing in a single plane facts about drugs . But a fresh study indicates that approach misses some essential phenomena. Working in the labs of Whitehead Member Paul Matsudaira and MIT professor Douglas Lauffenburger, postdoctoral researcher Muhammad Zaman found that cells move quite in 3 dimensions differently.