Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key mechanism behind cancer spread is explained

31.10.2008
Scientists have discovered the two key processes that allow cancer cells to change the way they move in order to spread through the body, reports leading scientific journal ‘Cell’ (1).

The progression of cancer cells from one part of the body to another (“metastasis”) is one of the biggest problems in curing cancer, therefore this research brings new hope of future therapies to fight cancer. The discovery has been made by Dr Victoria Sanz-Moreno in the research team led by Professor Chris Marshall at The Institute of Cancer Research, in work funded by Cancer Research UK.

Professor Marshall says:

“The spreading of cancer cells from one part of the body to another, called metastasis, is one of the biggest causes of death from cancer. By explaining a key part of that process, our research brings new hope for future therapies to fight cancer.

“The research has found the constant competition between two proteins called ‘Rac’ and ‘Rho’ is responsible for allowing the cancer cells to change shape and spread through the body.

“We have shown that cells from melanoma (an aggressive type of skin cancer) are able to rapidly alternate between two different forms of movement where cells have either a round shape or a more stretchy “elongated” shape.

“Together with Dr Erik Sahai and Dr Sophie Pinner at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute we have been able to see cells in live tumours carrying out these different forms of movement. These alternate shapes and ways of moving may enable tumour cells to deal with different situations during cancer spread. For example, tests indicated that a round shaped tumour cell may have more durability to survive in our bloodstream than elongated shaped tumour cells.”

The Rac process involves a protein called NEDD9, (which has previously been shown to be involved in melanoma metastasis) activating Rac through another protein called DOCK3. This Rac activity serves a dual purpose, both encouraging the cell to become elongated and simultaneously suppressing the competing Rho activity. Conversely, when cells adopt the round form a protein activated by Rho, called ARHGAP22, switches off Rac activation.

Dr Victoria Sanz-Moreno says: “Until now the conversion between different types of movement of individual cancer cells had been observed but the key players had not been identified. We are excited to discover that the amount and the activity of these proteins in the tumour cell regulates its shape and the mechanism for it to move and invade surrounding tissue. We hope these insights can be used to help develop future therapies”.

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK director of cancer information, said: "Successful treatment tends to be much more difficult if the cancer has spread. This exciting study has shed light on some of the key molecules involved in the signalling pathways that encourage cells to move around the body. Knowing more about how cancer spreads will hopefully lead to the identification of new drug targets which will enable scientists to develop anti-cancer drugs to block these pathways."

Melanoma cells were being studied in this research and their behaviour is also expected to occur in many other types of cancer. Melanomas are a major target for cancer therapies because although they are the least common, they are the most serious type of skin cancer. There are about 160,000 new cases of melanoma worldwide each year, including the rarer types that affect the bowel or eye rather than the skin (2).

(1) "Rac activation and inactivation control plasticity of tumor cell movement". Copies of this paper in Cell are available upon request. It will appear in the print issue of Cell on 31 October 2008.

(2) Ries LAG, et al, eds. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2000. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2003: Tables XVI-1-9.

Cathy Beveridge | alfa
Further information:
http://www.icr.ac.uk

Further reports about: Cancer Cell Key Rac anti-cancer drugs cancer cells key molecules melanoma metastasis proteins skin cancer spread tumour tumour cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood
23.02.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New Mechanisms of Gene Inactivation may prevent Aging and Cancer
23.02.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>