Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New discovery prevents the spread of cancer

Waldirene Biernath

cancer cell
Scientists have discovered how cancerous cells can "elbow" their way out of tumours, offering clues for new drugs to prevent cancers spreading. They have identified a protein called JAK which helps cancerous cells generate the force needed to move.

These cells contract like muscle to force their way out and around the body.  When cancers spread, a process known as metastasis, they become more difficult to treat.
division of a cell

Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research  say cancerous cells can move in two ways. They can "elbow" their way out of a tumor or the tumor itself can form corridors down which the cells can escape.

Lead researcher Prof Chris Marshall said both processes were being controlled by the same chemical.

JAK is not a new culprit in cancer. It has been linked to leukaemia, so some drugs are already being developed which target the protein.

The study suggests that such drugs may also stop the spread of cancer. The clinical tests will start in the next few years.

"A huge challenge in successfully treating cancer is stopping it from spreading around the body, and keeping cancer that has already spread at bay”, said Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK's director of cancer information.

Source: BBC News

(to) elbow (verb): push forward;
clues (noun): hint, evidence;
culprit (noun): a person who is responsible for a crime or other misdeed; the cause of a problem.

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