Monday, August 10, 2015

Shapeshifting marker for cancer cells identified

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 10, 2015 – In a first of its kind study researchers have identified a genetic biomarker responsible for the progression of many breast and prostate cancers. 

The newly identified biomarker is called diaphanous-related formin-3 or DIAPH3, which participates in a protein interaction that makes cells rigid. The study found that when this biomarker is lost or decreased, cells become flexible or pliable allowing them to squeeze through tissue spaces. Cancer cells with this property can invade normal tissues and adhere to other tissues in the body.

The researchers at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles published their findings in Scientific Reports and are believed to be the first to identify a targeting strategy for tumor cells that exhibit this property. 

Researchers hope the finding will allow them to better identify patients who will respond to common chemotherapy drugs, called taxanes, which are typically given to patients with the most aggressive forms of cancer. Taxanes work by damaging protein structures in cancer cells.

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