Early surgical removal of the spleen combined with antiangiogenic cancer therapy may halt the progression of leukemia, according to scientists at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre.
The research, published today in Blood, is the first to show the combination of two factors secreted from the environment of the spleen is important in the promotion of leukemia.
Dr. Yaacov Ben-David, a Senior Scientist in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Sunnybrook & Women’s Research Institute who is the lead investigator in the study and colleagues, including Dr. Yuval Shaked, a post-doctoral fellow, discovered that the spleen of diseased mice provides a supportive environment for cancer cells. The spleen secretes various factors, among them MCP and VEGF, which relate to the immune system and promote formation of new blood vessels. Secretions of these factors cause leukemic cells in the spleen to multiply. In this study, Dr. Ben-David’s team showed that these factors might contribute to the progression of breast and other types of cancer.
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