Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2010 February 19

Study finds metastasis ‘on’ switch

CLEVELAND (UPI) — A dental researcher from the Cleveland Clinic says he has discovered a specific protein that turns on the spread of cancer cells.
Scientist Ge Jin, who has joint appointments at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, said the protein called disabled-2 switches on the process that releases cancer cells from the original tumor and allows the cells to spread and develop into new tumors in other parts of the body. When the protein was eliminated, the scientists said, the p process was not activated.
The researchers said that process — called epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferientiation — has been known to play a role in releasing epithelial cells on the surface of the solid tumor and transforming them into cells having the ability to grow a new tumor. That, the scientists said, is often the fatal process in breast, ovarian, pancreatic and colon-rectal cancers.
"This is the major piece in cancer research that has been missing," Jin said. "The process we discovered may lead to understanding how other diseases progress."
The six-member research team, led by Philip Howe from the Lerner Research Institute, appears in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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