As a postdoc at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in 2008, cancer biologist Ravid Straussman worked on a collaborative effort to screen normal cells for their influence on cancer cells’ responses to various anticancer therapies. The project turned up hundreds of examples of stromal cells—best known for forming the connective tissues that support organs—somehow conferring drug resistance on their cancerous neighbors in vitro. One of these cases caught Straussman’s attention: human pancreatic and colorectal cancer cell lines could evade the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine when cultured with dermal fibroblasts. Read Article