Cancer is a group of diseases
characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.
It is the leading cause
of death worldwide.
Some common cancers include breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancer
An international team of researchers has discovered a potential new target for a drug that could prevent deadly metastases
, which cause 90 percent of cancer deaths.
According to a study published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers has identified a mechanism
that allows cancer cells to spread throughout the body.
They found that cancer cells moved faster when they were surrounded by thicker fluid, a change that occurred when
lymphatic drainage was destroyed by the primary tumor.
The findings provide a potential new target to stop metastasis, which accounts for 90% of cancer deaths
"This is really the first detailed look at the viscosity of the extracellular fluid," says
"Now that we know that liquid viscosity sends specific signals to cancer cells to move in a specific way, we may use drugs to cut off this signaling pathway and encourage cancer cells to slow down, or even stop
" The Lewis lab was invited to join a project led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University because of its expertise
in real-time imaging of human cancer cells using the placenta-like villus allantoic membrane of a fertilized egg.
Lewis said: "I would say that we are the world leader
in this type of imaging.
Our contribution to this work is very precise to show that when cancer cells experience an increase in viscosity in the surrounding fluid, they change gene expression and become more aggressive
Even if you lower the viscosity, these cells are still more aggressive
"Then we went on to show that when this signaling pathway in cancer cells is disturbed, it changes their ability to
escape the bloodstream and metastasize," Lewis said.
This is the third paper
published by the international research team.
Lewis credits much of his team's work with senior research associate Konstantin Stoletov
He cautions that once a new therapeutic target is identified, it could take 10 to 15 years to develop and test a drug
References:Extracellular fluid viscosity enhances cell migration and cancer dissemination” by Kaustav Bera, Alexander Kiepas, Inês Godet, Yizeng Li, Pranav Mehta, Brent Ifemembi, Colin D.
Paul, Anindya Sen, Selma A.
Serra, Konstantin Stoletov, Jiaxiang Tao, Gabriel Shatkin, Se Jong Lee, Yuqi Zhang, Adrianna Boen, Panagiotis Mistriotis, Daniele M.
Gilkes, John D.
Lewis, Chen-Ming Fan, Andrew P.
Feinberg, Miguel A.
Valverde, Sean X.
Sun and Konstantinos Konstantopoulos, 2 November 2022, Nature.