Findings Suggest Strategy for Halting Metastasis

Einstein Scientists Find Crucial Molecule Involved in Spread of Breast Cancer

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified a key player in the spread of breast cancer. The findings, recently published in the online edition of Nature, identify a critical molecule that helps cancer spread beyond the primary tumor. The research highlights a potential new strategy against metastatic disease. The study’s senior author is Jeffrey Pollard, Ph.D., professor of developmental and molecular biology and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein. He also holds the Louis Goldstein Swan Chair in Women’s Cancer Research and is the deputy director of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center.

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People rarely die from their primary (original) tumor. Instead, most cancer deaths occur because the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to other parts of the body. “By focusing on sites where cancer had spread, we were able to detect a molecule that stimulates metastasis,” said Dr. Pollard. “This raises the possibility that metastasis could be kept from progressing – or even prevented – if the stimulating molecule could be blocked. This we achieved in mouse models of breast cancer.”

Metastasis begins when cells break away from the primary tumor and gain the ability to move on their own. These cells invade nearby blood vessels (a process known as intravasation) and are carried by the bloodstream to other parts of the body. The bloodborne tumor cells then escape from vessels in a process known as extravasation. Once these tumor cells escape from the vessels, they seed new and deadly tumors that grow in these distant locations. Read full article at Einstein News…

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