An important cause of pancreatic cancer discovered

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Pancreatic cancer is known for being particularly tough to beat, with a survival rate that’s unfortunately low. This type of cancer, especially Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC), poses a significant challenge to patients and doctors alike.

However, a recent study from the Francis Crick Institute has brought a glimmer of hope, uncovering a potential new avenue for treatment.

At the heart of many tumors, including pancreatic cancer, are cancer stem cells. These cells are a bit like the seeds of the tumor, capable of growing new tumors and changing into different types of tumor cells.

They play a crucial role in the growth of the tumor, making them a prime target for new treatments.

The discovery made by researchers is centered around a protein called CD9, which sits on the surface of these cancer stem cells. CD9 isn’t just a passive marker; it turns out to be a key player in making cancer stem cells act aggressively.

Through experiments with mice, the scientists found that when they reduced the levels of CD9 in tumor cells, the tumors grew smaller. On the flip side, boosting CD9 levels made the cancer cells form large tumors rapidly.

This finding has significant implications for patients. Those with higher levels of CD9 tend to have a tougher battle ahead, with about 10% of pancreatic cancer patients showing elevated levels of this protein.

Digging deeper, the team discovered that CD9 has a role in how cancer cells feed themselves. It helps the cells take in more glutamine, an amino acid that fuels their growth.

This insight is crucial because it opens up a new strategy for fighting cancer: targeting CD9 to cut off the cancer’s food supply, essentially starving the cancer cells.

Looking ahead, treatments that focus on CD9 could represent a major shift in how we tackle pancreatic cancer. By disrupting the glutamine supply to the cancer stem cells, we might be able to stop the cancer in its tracks.

This study not only shines a light on a new target for treatment but also offers hope to those affected by pancreatic cancer. The fight against this formidable disease might be getting a little easier, thanks to the dedication and hard work of researchers.

Understanding how CD9 influences cancer cell growth and metabolism paves the way for developing new strategies that could inhibit the progression of cancer, potentially improving the chances of survival for many.

If you care about cancer risk, please read studies that exercise may stop cancer in its tracks, and vitamin D can cut cancer death risk.

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies that yogurt and high-fiber diet may cut lung cancer risk, and results showing that new cancer treatment may reawaken the immune system.

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