Sunday, December 18, 2016

High blood pressure drug may block cancer spread

High-resolution microscope image of an invasive breast
cancer cell (magenta) expressing Myosin-10 induced
“sticky-fingers” (green).  Credit: Dr Guillaume 
Jacquemet, University of Turku
CANCER DIGEST – Dec. 18, 2016 – Could a drug already approved to reduce high blood pressure block the spread of breast and pancreatic cancer? 

That’s the intriguing question a group of Finnish researchers at the University of Turku are working to find out.
Led by Professor Johanna Ivaska and Guillaume Jacquemet the researchers have discovered that calcium channel blockers, long used to lower blood pressure, also block a protein cancer cells use to "feel" their way through the body to invade other tissues. The laboratory study was published Dec. 2 in the journal Nature Communications.

In earlier studies, the team identified a protein called Myosin-10 plays a key role producing sticky finger-like structures called filopodia in breast and pancreatic cancer cells. These structure extend from the cells’ outer edges and are thought to allow the cell to navigate, move and invade other tissues in the body.

In the study, the researchers were looking for new targets in drugs already approved to treat other diseases to see if one might also be effective in blocking Myosin-10. Finding the calcium channel blockers specifically target these sticky fingers was a surprise.

While it will take much more research to see if these drugs have the same effect on cancer cells in the body, because the drug is already approved for blood pressure control could significantly shorten the time to clinical trials.

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