Scientists discover way to stop cancer spreading

Scientists could ‘stop cancer in its tracks’

British scientists have found a chemical key that could stop cancer spreading.

The breakthrough could help pave the way for the creation of drugs that could halt cancer spreads in the most common forms of the disease, like breast and lung cancer.

Over 150,000 people a year die from cancer in Britain, with breast and lung cancer accounting for a third of deaths. Most deaths occur when tumours spread from their site of origin through the bloodstream, creating further tumours in other areas of the body.

Researcher, Dr Chris Ward, told the Daily Mail: ‘Understanding how cancer cells spread is tremendously important for cancer research.

‘It is the ability of tumours to invade other tissues and spread around the body that makes them so dangerous.

‘The cancer just overwhelms the body.’

Dr Ward used embryonic stem cells to study the mechanism cancer cells use to spread around the body.
He showed that a protein called Ecadherin is essential to keeping cells stuck together.

When levels of E-cadherin fall, other proteins move to the surface of the cells and they are able to break away and spread.

The study, reported in the journal, Nature, will allow scientists to develop drugs that interfere with the spreading process.

Dr Ward added: ‘Potentially, our findings can be applied to the most common form of cancer, carcinoma, found in the breast, lung and gut for example, which makes up 80 to 90 per cent of all cancers.’

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