Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new substance that could help stop breast cancer from spreading.
A paper on this research called “Targeted Destruction of S100A4 Inhibits Metastasis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells” has been published in Biomolecules.
Researchers from Liverpool and Nanjing Medical School in China have found a potential way to block certain proteins that appear in the body when a person has cancer.
These proteins are involved in the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, a process known as metastasis. This spread is the main cause of death in people with cancer.
The biggest problem in treating common types of cancer isn’t the initial tumor, which can often be removed with surgery, but the cancer spreading to other organs.
The Key to a Breakthrough
Professor Philip Rudland, Emeritus Professor in the University of Liverpool’s Department of Biochemistry, said, “Usually, when cancer has spread, we use chemotherapy.
But we can’t often give this treatment without it being very harmful or even toxic to the patient. Our goal was to find a specific and important target to attack without causing harm.”
The research team had previously found that certain proteins are involved in the spread of cancer. These proteins are different from the ones involved in creating the initial tumor.
One such protein is called “S100A4.” The team chose to focus on this protein in their search for chemicals that could stop the spread of cancer.
They tested their ideas using models of cells from a very aggressive and untreatable type of hormone receptor-free breast cancer.
A Potential Solution
The scientists discovered a new compound that can specifically block this protein S100A4 from interacting with its target inside the cell.
Chemists at the university then created a simpler chemical and attached it to a “warhead.” This warhead stimulates the cell’s normal protein-destroying machinery.
The compound can now work at very low doses to stop properties linked to the spread of cancer. It is over 20,000 times better than the original compound without a warhead, and it hardly has any toxic side effects.
With the help of researchers in China, they showed that this compound can also stop the spread of similar cancers in mice. This suggests it might be used as a treatment.
Dr. Gemma Nixon, Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Liverpool, said, “This is a big step forward in our research.
We now hope to do more tests in a larger group of animals with similar cancers. We want to see how effective and stable the compounds are and make any necessary improvements before any clinical trials.”
She added, “Interestingly, the protein we’re looking at shows up in many different cancers. This could mean our approach might work for many other common types of human cancers.”
If you care about health, please read studies about supplements that could strongly reduce cancer death, and blood pressure drugs plus chemotherapy could reduce triple-negative breast cancer.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about a new way to halt excessive inflammation, and results showing dietary supplement that fights resistance in breast cancer.
The study was published in Biomolecules.
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