NI cancer discovery paves way for better treatments
Category: Northern Ireland
Published: 8th Aug 2012 07:39:49
Scientists at Queen's University, Belfast, have made a discovery which could lead to more effective treatments for throat and cervical cancers.
It involves targeting the non-cancerous cells surrounding a tumour, as well as treating the tumour itself.
Researchers found that non-cancerous tissue surrounding cancers of the throat and cervix, plays a role in regulating the spread of cancer cells.
Treatments could be developed to stop that tissue being invaded by cancer.
Scientists believe it is possible to switch-off the messages that encourage cancer cells to invade and so, inhibit the spread of the tumour.
The research, led by Prof Dennis McCance, has just been published in the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal.
"Cancer spreads as the result of two-way communication between the cancer cells in a tumour and the non-cancerous cells in the surrounding tissue," Prof McCance said.
This discovery opens the door for us to develop new treatments that would target the normal tissue surrounding a tumour, as opposed to the tumour itself”
"We already know that cancer cells are intrinsically programmed to invade neighbouring healthy tissue.
"But the cells in the non-cancerous tissue are also programmed to send messages to the cancer cells, actively encouraging them to invade. If these messages - sent from the healthy tissue to the tumour - can be switched-off, then the spread of the cancer will be inhibited.
"What we have discovered is that a particular protein in non-cancerous tissue has the ability to either open or close the communication pathway between the healthy tissue and the tumour. When the Retinoblastoma protein (Rb) in non-cancerous tissue is activated, this leads to a decrease in factors that encourage invasion by cancer cells. And so, the cancer doesn't spread."
Professor McCance said that current treatments for cancer focus on targeting the tumour itself, in order to kill the cancer cells before they spread.
"This discovery opens the door for us to develop new treatments that would target the normal tissue surrounding a tumour, as opposed to the tumour itself.
"By specifically targeting pathways controlled by the Rb protein, it would be possible to switch-off the messages that encourage cancer cells to invade, and inhibit the spread of the tumour."
"Our research has focussed on cancers of the throat and cervix. But it is possible that Rb or other proteins in the healthy tissue surrounding other types of cancer, may play a similar role in regulating the spread of tumour cells. Therefore, the implications of this discovery could go far beyond throat and cervical cancer, and that is something we plan to investigate further."
The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the National Institutes of Health (USA), and was supported by the Northern Ireland Biobank.
At 02:53:22 in HeadlinesA special forces base in the Libyan city of Benghazi has been seized by militias, fighters and officials say.
At 02:44:48 in HeadlinesA burst water main on Los Angeles' iconic Sunset Boulevard has caused flooding at the University of California, Los Angeles, local officials say.
At 02:30:47 in HeadlinesFelix Klieser was born with no arms, so uses his feet to do most things. This includes eating, dressing, writing ... and being a professional French horn player.
At 01:32:47 in ScotlandEveryone loves a winner but the crowds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow appear to be just as keen on those who lose in style.
At 01:15:25 in HealthProblem drinking in middle age doubles the risk of memory loss in later life, research suggests.
At 01:11:55 in ScotlandThe Milky Way is lighter than astronomers previously thought, researchers have concluded.
At 01:10:36 in WorldLife is tough if you're a blundering, buck toothed, bumphead.
At 01:06:39 in WorldWheelchair-bound Mohamed Harib does not let his infirmity get in the way of a chance for business.
At 01:02:22 in TechnologyDemands for search engines to remove personal data from the web to respect people's "right to be forgotten" are unreasonable, a group of peers says.
At 00:48:56 in EnglandThe Metropolitan Police has agreed to reveal whether two men had relationships with women while working as undercover police officers.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. NI cancer discovery paves way for better treatments [Online] (Updated 8th Aug 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1445057/NI-cancer-discovery-paves-way-for-better-treatments [Accessed 30th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
The Metropolitan Police has agreed to reveal whether two men had relationships with women while working as undercover police officers.
A libel case brought by a Conservative assembly member has been adjourned and is unlikely to resume until next year.
For the past 20 years, families in Northern Ireland have given up part of their summer holidays to host children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster
The morning after technology company Zendesk raised $98m (£56m) in a share sale in May, its boss led all 360 staff at its San Francisco headquarters out on to the local streets to pick up litter.
Everyone loves a winner but the crowds at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow appear to be just as keen on those who lose in style.
Problem drinking in middle age doubles the risk of memory loss in later life, research suggests.