Potential new target to stop colorectal cancer’s spread identified

April 22nd, 2009 - 12:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 22 (ANI): A protein, CXCL12, that normally controls intestinal cell movement, has the potential to halt colorectal cancer spreading, say researchers.

Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center researchers in Milwaukee say that the new research represents a potential mechanism by which CXL12 may slow cancer spreading.

Controlling this process could lead to new biological therapies for colorectal cancers, the authors said.

“Finding therapies to prevent (Colorectal cancer) its spread to secondary organs would increase patient prognosis considerably,” said principal investigator Michael Dwinell, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.

Normal intestinal cells stick to underlying proteins, which provide survival signals to maintain cell health.

If they become unstuck, the floating cells undergo a programmed cell death.

In cancer, cells have acquired genetic changes that allow them to survive during loss of attachment.

Previously, the researchers found that colorectal cancer cells lacked CXCL12 expression.

In these studies, they re-introduced CXCL12 expression in colorectal cancer cells which prevented their ability to adhere to underlying proteins. Plus, the floating cells underwent programmed cell death.

The research will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Denver, April 21. (ANI)

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