Scientists block stomach tumour growth
Monash Institute of Medical Research scientists may have discovered a way of blocking stomach tumours from growing and spreading, according to a paper published today in the highly-prestigious journal Cancer Cell, which is ranked in the top five science and medical research journals in the world, including Nature, Cell and Science.
Stomach, or gastric, cancer is the second most lethal cancer in the world, and being one of the most aggressive forms of cancer it is also placed among the world’s top five cancers with the lowest survival rates.
In a world-first, MIMR’s Associate Professor Brendan Jenkins and his team from the Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases have identified that a gene, which creates a protein called Toll-Like Receptor 2, is over-produced in the stomachs of gastric cancer patients.
They have also identified why this happens.
Completing the trifecta, A/Prof Jenkins and his team have also demonstrated that TLR2 promotes the growth of gastric cancer tumour cells, and by using an antibody can block the actions of TLR2, thus preventing further tumour growth and potentially spreading (metastasis).
“One of the main problems with stomach cancer is that it’s a very aggressive disease and is often only detected at an advanced stage where you are restricted to harsh treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical resection,” A/Prof Jenkins said.
“These can have quite dire consequences in terms of the patient’s quality of life, and often are not highly effective at preventing tumours from regrowing or significantly improving the survival rate of patients.
“So there’s a very strong need for new next-generation therapeutics for gastric cancer to overcome these issues” he said.
A/Prof Jenkins’ findings now create the potential for personalised therapeutic treatment.
They also highlight the need and pave the way for early detection.
“Using TLR2 and other related disease biomarkers we’ve identified could enhance screening programs to capture stomach cancer in its early stages and allow us to block further tumour growth before it has a major detrimental effect on peoples’ lives,” he said.
For more information on stomach cancer, including different types of cancer affecting the stomach, see Stomach Cancer.
Article Date: 26/10/2012
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