Scientists identify enzyme behind cancer spread

March 8th, 2009 - 11:51 am ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 8 (ANI): Institute of Cancer Research scientists claim that they have found an enzyme which is responsible for cancer spread.

Cancer Cell journal reported that boffins have discovered a way to stop cancer spreading to other parts of the body after finding enzyme called LOX.

According to researchers, LOX is crucial in promoting metastasis.

Cancer metastasis, where the cancer spreads from its original location, is known to be responsible for 90percent of cancer-related deaths.

To reach the conclusion, researchers studied breast cancer in mice but are confident that their findings will apply to humans with other cancer types too.

LOX (lysyl oxidase) works by sending out signals to prepare a new area of the body for the cancer to set up a camp. Without this preparation process the new environment would be too hostile for the cancer to grow.

Lead researcher Dr Janine Erler explained the discovery as “the crucial missing piece in the jigsaw that scientists have been searching for.”

She said it was the first time one key enzyme has been identified as responsible for effectively allowing the cancer to spread.

“If we can interrupt the body’’s ability to prepare new locations for the cancer to spread to, we can effectively prevent cancer metastasis. Cancer metastasis is very difficult to treat and this new discovery provides real hope that we can develop a drug which will fight the spreading of cancer, The BBC quoted her, as saying. (ANI)

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