Clarkson researchers were nationally honored for their paper on cancer cells. Their research can help experts understand how cancer spreads. Caitlin Landers spoke with some of the people behind the project about the importance of this paper in the scientific community.

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- A group of Clarkson students and professors had a big goal, that involved small cells.

"It's encouraging to see that some of the work that we're doing here, is being considered by peers as something very useful so that gives a little bit of satisfaction," said Clarkson researcher and PhD candidate Armend Ngounou.

Satisfaction that comes from getting national recognition. Their research paper won the 2015 Journal of Laboratory Automation Author's Choice Award. That means it has been one of the most used papers in the U.S. for other scientists' research.

It's giving people a new look at the disease.

"High density cancer cells are secreting, so shedding, something into the medium that's helping the low-density cancer cells to grow," said Ngounou. 

The goal was to find out what it's secreting, and use that info to target cancer cell growth.

Clarkson researchers tackled that first part of the research by studying proteins, or proteomics.

"We look at all the proteins at once and hopefully we can find some matters that will help us to understand the disease. And if we can understand it, then we can control it," 

Clarkson Associate Chemistry and Biomedical Professor Costel Darie. Writers say the research methods can apply to many areas.

"Cornerstone for two different types of scientists, the cancer scientist and the proteomic scientist, which is not common," said Darie.

And it could help scientists take the next big step in the fight for a cure.