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MIT researchers have discovered proteins involved in cancer metastasis

RATE THIS! +34
Posted in Science on 18th Mar, 2014 11:39 PM by AlexMuller

About 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused by tumors that have spread from their original locations. This process, known as metastasis, requires cancer cells to break loose from their neighbors and from the supportive scaffold that gives tissues their structure.

 
MIT cancer biologists have now discovered that certain proteins in this structure, known as the extracellular matrix, help cancer cells make their escape. The researchers identified dozens of proteins that surround highly metastatic tumors, but not less aggressive tumors, and found that four of those proteins are critical to metastasis.
 
The findings could lead to new tests that predict which tumors are most likely to metastasize, and may also help to identify new therapeutic targets for metastatic tumors, which are extremely difficult to treat. 
 
“The problem is, all the current drugs are targeted to primary tumors. Once a metastasis appears, in many cases, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Richard Hynes, leader of the research team and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.
 
“In principle, one could imagine interfering with some of these extracellular proteins and blocking metastasis in a patient. We’re a long way from that, but it’s not inconceivable.” 
 
In this study, the researchers focused on about 1,000 proteins, including about 300 that have been identified in genomic studies as components of the matrix. The remaining proteins include enzymes that modify or degrade the matrix and growth factors that bind to it.

Tags: cancermetastasiscellshealth

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+1
Considering the impact that metastasis have on survival, just finding out more is a big step- here there is also a potential to target some unique components of extra cellular matrix. Long term, but promising
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+2
Research described here first needs to be confirmed and expanded further - a good step but not a huge one Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+0
There's a lot of work to be done. Various breakthroughs are needed before this could be a benefit to patients Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+3
It is important to work on this problem. The most dangerous and deadly stage of a tumour is when it spreads around the body. Some recent advances have been made that have great potential for application. One good example are nanoparticles that stay in the bloodstream and kill migrating cancer cells on contact.
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+2
Yes, nanoparticles are promising. Indeed the greatest impact of cancer on overall state for a patient is the extent of metastasis, how many and where they go. Stoping cancer spreading is an important goal
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-19
+0
Surgery and radiation are effective at treating primary tumors, but metastatic cancer cells are difficult to find and treatment of the spreading cancer problematic- now we could have these promising nanoparticles to help here Reply
Reply
Reply


 

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