Discovery could stem spread of cancer

Van Andel Institute researchers in Grand Rapids, Mich. have made a discovery they believe could lead to a treatment preventing the spread of cancer.

In a study published in the April issue of Current Biology, a highly respected scientific journal, the researchers say they found a protein called DIP changes the way cells move, allowing cancer to metastasize, or develop secondary tumors away from the original site.

“We believe this is a very significant study,” said Van Andel Senior Scientific Investigator Art Alberts, who led the research team. Cancer patients most often die not from the original tumor, he said, but from those that spread to other organs.

The latest discovery involves the interaction of two naturally occurring proteins in cells. One protein called mDia2 binds together like cables, giving cells their shape. All cells move, Alberts said, but the other protein, called DIP, switches off the mDia2, allowing cancer cells to change shape — “blebbing,” the researchers call it — and possibly migrate through the body.

More info: Grand Rapids (Michigan, USA) Press article

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