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Published on 11 February 2009

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Cancer movement mechanism explored


The discovery of two proteins which work together to help cancer cells move could lead to a treatment that prevents the disease spreading around the body, scientists suggest.

Experts from Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute found that proteins MRTF and SRF were not only needed for tumour cells to move within a solid tumour, they also controlled genes required for cancer cells to spread out through the bloodstream and form new tumours.

London Research Institute director and lead author Dr Richard Treisman said: “The ability of cancer cells to move around is a strong predictor of tumour spread. The MRTF-SRF network potentially provides a novel route through which to attack tumour spread by altering protein levels, rather than by directly interfering with the mechanics of cell movement.”

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said: “When cancer cells break away from a tumour and spread around the body, it makes the disease very hard to treat.

She added that research of this sort was crucial as it was important to understand how cancer spreads in order to develop successful treatments.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Cancer Research UK

Cancer Research UK

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