Scientists have made headway in understanding how breast cancer progresses to other parts of the body, by discovering a protein potentially involved in the disease? spread.
Researchers from the University of Manchester claimed that their findings could lead to new approaches to treating breast cancer, as blocking the protein’s actions has the potential to stop cancerous cells migrating.
“What we have identified is a new role for a protein called LPP,” Professor Andrew Sharrocks, who headed the research team, said.
“Until now, this protein was only thought to function at the cell periphery but we have shown that it works in conjunction with another protein ? PEA3 ? in the cell nucleus,? he added.
“If we can target the LPP protein and stop it from working in cancerous cells, we have a possible new route to therapy,” he further explained.
The researchers said that benign tumours remain in one part of the body and are relatively easy to treat through surgery, but metastases, which are malignant cancers spread to other parts of the body, and can be much more problematic.
Dr. Andrew Gilmore, who is one of the researchers in the team, is examining in more detail a process called “anoikis.”
Anoikis is the process whereby the body ambushes and kills roving cells that have gone “awol” and are moving around the body without permission, like breast-cancer cells that spread from the breast to form tumours in other parts of the body.
?Understanding more about how the body’s natural defences work and why breast-cancer cells can avoid them will help develop new drugs that can kill invasive cells that have become resistant to standard treatment,” Dr. Gilmore said.
The researchers are expecting that their research will help to uncover new ways of making chemotherapy treatments more effective.