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December 9, 2005

Chemical signals spread cancer

Topics: Health Issues

celsig.jpg[Image - Cell signaling and cancer biology]

Researchers have discovered how tumours spread secondary cancers.

Initially, growth factors released by the primary tumour trigger the production of an adhesive protein called fibronectin on the surface of cells at the target site.

Then a second tranche of growth factors is released to encourage bone marrow cells to zero-in on the same site.

Once there, they cluster in groups, forming a support structure which stabilises the malignant cells that arrive later to begin forming a secondary, or metastatic, tumour.

The researchers have shown that it is possible to block the migration of bone marrow cells by using antibodies.

Hopefully, this research will lead to improvements in the use of treatments that are used to combat the spread of secondary cancers because a lot of people survive their primary cancer only to die as a result of the spread of a secondary cancer, especially bone cancer.

Posted by at December 9, 2005 8:54 PM

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