A team of cancer researchers has shown that a gene commonly lost during neuroblastoma tumor formation, one of the most aggressive cancers in babies and children, is in fact a "metastasis suppressor" gene. The researchers, from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center and St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, also describe how the gene, caspase 8, works.
The findings, published in the January 5 issue of the journal Nature, provide important new insights into the biology of metastatic disease and lay the necessary groundwork for developing targeted therapies designed to halt the spread of neuroblastoma, and possibly other cancers.
"A major problem with cancer is not necessarily the primary tumor formation, but the ability of some tumor cells within that primary tumor to metastasize, or travel to distant sites, where they develop new tumors," said David Cheresh, Ph.D., senior author on the paper and Associate Director for Translational Research at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Cheresh is also a professor of pathology at the UCSD School of Medicine.
Nancy Stringer | EurekAlert!
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