Scientist Discovers Protein That Causes Cancer to Spread

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A major piece of the mystery surrounding cancer has been found: a scientist has discovered a protein that initiates the process that causes cancer to spread from the original tumor to other parts of the body. The report appears in Nature Cell Biology.

The process that releases cancer cells from their original tumor and allows them to spread throughout the body is called epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation (EMT). The spread and development of the cancer cells into new tumors in other sites in the body is known as metastasis.

Cancer can begin in any tissue or organ in the body. The original tumor, or primary cancer, is usually named for the part of the body or type of cell in which the disease begins. When cancer cells break away from the primary tumor and form a new tumor in a different part of the body, the new tumor is a metastatic tumor.

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According to the National Cancer Institute, the most common sites of metastasis from solid tumors are the lungs, bones, liver, and brain. Breast cancer commonly spreads to the bones, lungs, liver, or brain, while lung cancer often metastasizes to the brain or bones. Prostate cancer usually spreads to the bones. Metastasis is often the fatal blow in breast, ovarian, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers.

Ge Jin, a scientist from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, discovered that a specific protein called disabled-2 (Dab2) turns on the EMT process. During the EMT process, some of the cancer cells separate from the surface of the tumor and transform into a type of cell (mesenchymal) that has the ability to migrate, which then allows metastasis to occur. A compound called transforming growth factor-B (TGF-B) triggers the formation of the Dab2 protein.

Jin, who was part of a six-member research team from the Department of Cancer Biology at the Lerner Research Institute, discovered that when researchers knocked out Dab2, the EMT process was not initiated. He noted that this discovery is a “major piece in cancer research that has been missing.”

This new discovery of a protein that causes cancer to spread is a critical piece in the cancer puzzle. According to Jin, “The process we discovered may lead to understanding how other diseases progress,” even beyond cancer.

SOURCES:
Case Western Reserve University
National Cancer Institute

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Comments

Sorry Lads this is for you. PROSTATE CANCER You may have read that Dennis Hopper the actor died aged 74 from Prostate Cancer. I am a cancer survivor aged 73. I am a prostate cancer survivor because I had water works problems. Went to see my GP and on snapped the infamous glove. Fear not lads , this is more embarrassing than painful. A lot of 'Uming' and ' Aring' Compulsory with Doctors. After the rubber finger was removed he refereed my to the local hospital. There I meet some very worried looking men all drinking water by the gallons to pee on demand (try it . Its Impossible) into a bucket type machine with whirly bits in it that measured the power of your pee or lack of power as the case may be. The resulting chart looked like the Tory graft when brown took office. A sudden decent downwards. After another embarrassing test being another invasion of your rear end including a student Bum Inspector who kept saying Sorry as they took scrapping for testing. Again more red faced than pain. Then I went home . I received a curt letter which simply said "you have Prostate Cancer" No break it to me gently Doc here. The upshot was to attend 6 weeks of daily season for radio therapy. (weekends of for good behaviour) So daily I attended and lay down on a long platform and was trundled slowly into the jaws of a large machine. THIS IS PAINLESS lads in fact you do meet a lovely bevy of caring nurses (told you there are good bits) One problem with the scrapings that know body told me was that a scab forms and when the scam becomes detached you get blood in your pee. This happened to me when I was unfortunately sharing a public toilet through type urinal. I don't know who was more astonished as my blood/pee went slowly down hill passed my fellow pee'ers. They all looked at me and I looked at the bloke next to me (Accusingly) Also and just as importantly there are still the injections of a capsule into the stomach. this is slightly painful but we are macho men and can take it. The only drawback is you tend to put on a lot of weight. (do not let your Mrs/Care say its because you eat to much). Its the capsules (that's my excuse besides, I hate Salads). And the cost of new trousers is a bind. Every 12 weeks I toddle of to the local clinic and another nice nurse (more perks lads) injects the capsule into you tummy. It does sting a bit , but we laugh at pain ( the nurse is most impressed) Actually afterwards I get into my car, close the windows and scream.( no I don't lads Ha Ha ) Also (yes a lot of 'Al so's ' but this is serious stuff ) To continue I have a blood test to send to hospital for testing (always very good results) this is also carried out by the same nice nurse (another chance to be macho man) That all happened 4 years ago and as I look at the smiles of my grand children I think thank God for the Doc with the rubber glove. Going now to have a pie and chips Regards Taxi Oxfordshire UK PS your get up and go ;-) suffers a bit of a knock back (thank God for Viagra)