New study reveals insight into spread of cancer through body
17 August 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
A new paper has revealed insights into the biological process through which cancer cells are able to move through the body.
Studies funded by Cancer Research UK have shown that a protein known as JAK can trigger muscle-like contractions in tumours when activated, thus generating the force needed by the cancer cells to move.
By spreading through the cell matrix in this way, cancers are able to relocate from their point of origin, such as the skin, to other tissues including the lungs, liver and bone, thus making it harder to treat.
This discovery opens up the possibility for new drugs targeting JAK to be developed, which could potentially inhibit the ability of tumours to spread.
Professor Chris Marshall, a Cancer Research UK-funded scientist from The Institute of Cancer Research, said: "Encouragingly, drugs that block JAK are already in development to stop the growth of tumours. Our new study suggests that such drugs may also stop the spread of cancer."
Earlier this month, Cancer Research UK scientists announced the development of a new imaging technique that uses vitamin C to identify cancers that are likely to be more resistant to treatment.
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