LONDON: It's a research which sheds new light on how cancers spread — scientists have discovered a key protein that helps the tumours move around the body.
The researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found the way to copy the body's own protection system, which tries to prevent tumours from moving around, The Guardian reported on Friday.
Cancers spread thanks to a protein called Mena, which is found in excessive amounts in all tumours. A second protein, Tes, stops this movement by attaching itself to Mena but normally there is so much Mena in cancer cells that Tes cannot do its job properly.
In fact, the researchers have found the molecular mechanism by which Tes locks on to Mena. If a drug is designed to mimic this action, it will allow doctors to give Tes a helping hand.
"Our findings represent a new way to regulate a key family of proteins involved in cell crawling that will change the way researchers see current models of cell migration — an important aspect of the spread of cancer," lead researcher Dr Michael Way of Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute was quoted as saying.
According to the scientists, the discovery will help doctors better understand the spread of the disease and could lead to improved drugs to prevent secondary tumours.
Dr Lesley Walker, director of science information at Cancer Research UK, said: "Cancer cells use many complex processes when they break away from their tumour and spread to other areas of the body. Understanding these mechanisms and increasing our knowledge about this protein can hopefully help us to develop more effective cancer treatments in the future."
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