Cancer: Targeting protein may stop tumors from spreading

February 16, 2018

New research published in the journal Oncogene uncovered a protein that helps tumors to spread by enabling them to grow blood vessels. Blocking the protein stopped tumors from metastasizing efficiently in laboratory experiments.

The new study was led by James P. Quigley, a professor from the Department of Molecular Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, and Daniel Rifkin, a professor of medicine working at New York University’s School of Medicine in New York City. Elena Deryugina, an assistant professor at TSRI, is the first author of the paper.

Deryugina and her colleagues started out from the observation that lower levels of a protein called latent TGF-beta binding protein 3 (LTBP3) correlates with better survival outcomes in people with certain forms of cancer.

In order to promote metastasis, LTBP3 binds to another substance known as TGF-beta, which is a “transforming” growth factor that plays a dual role in cancer, as it can either help tumors to spread or stop them from doing so.

As with growth factors in general, our bodies require TGF-beta to function properly. Research has shown that in normal cells and early cancers TGF-beta suppresses tumors, but in more advanced cancers it transforms and promotes the growth of tumors.

The challenge for researchers so far has been to mitigate the harmful effects of TGF-beta without altering its key role for normal cell functioning.

In the new research, Deryugina and colleagues investigated more closely the interplay between LTBP3 and TGF-beta.

From previous research that they conducted together, the scientists knew the many ways in which LTBP3 helps to regulate TGF-beta by attaching itself to it. However, they didn’t know whether the protein controlled even more processes or had a stand-alone role in driving cancer metastasis.

Source: www.Medical news today.com



Is This Experimental Japanese Drug the Secret to Stopping the Flu?

A Japanese drug company is offering up a big claim: Shionogi & Co. says it has an experimental pill that can kill the flu virus within a single day, according to news reports.

In a clinical trial, a single dose of the drug made by the pharmaceutical company eliminated the virus from people’s bodies in a median time of 24 hours, The Wall Street Journal reported. Both Japanese and American flu patients were included in the trial.

The experimental drug worked three times faster than another antiviral drug, Tamiflu, the company told the Journal.

The drug uses a different approach to fight the flu than other medications. The flu virus spreads through the body by invading cells. Once inside a cell, it hijacks the cell’s machinery, forcing the cell to make copies of the virus. Then, the newly copied viruses break out of the cell, spreading to other cells nearby and repeating the process.

Existing drugs, including Tamiflu, work to block these viral copies from escaping the cell, the Journal reported. The experimental drug, however, kicks into action earlier, working to block the virus from hijacking cells in the first place, the Journal said.

Japanese drug regulators could approve the drug for use in Japan by early March, the Journal reported. The drugmaker plans to apply for approval in the U.S. this summer; however, the drug likely wouldn’t be available here until next year.

source: www.livescience.com



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