A single gene has been found, that scientists claim is responsible for the spread and development of lung cancer, as reported by FOX News. The study conducted by Mayo Clinic has been published in the journal, PLoS ONE.
The gene identified is Matrix metalloproteinase-10 (MMP-10). This is a growth factor gene used by cancer cells to grow, migrate to lymph nodes and blood stream, as well as keep themselves healthy. These cells are stem cell-like in nature and the gene MMP-10 is responsible for making them resistant to cancer treatments.
The MMP genes act by degrading the stroma or the natural environment around the cancer cells. Stroma acts as a barrier against cancer cells, and when this is incapacitated easier metastasis results. However, the study has also found that MMP gene was also involved in early growth of tumor cells.
Inhibition of MMP in mouse model resulted in the tumor not growing at all. These researchers concluded that overexpression of MMP drives cancer stem cells. MMP expression in normal cells is very low while in cancer cells expression is very high.
MMP may also play a role in other cancers like breast, prostate, kidney, ovarian, colorectal, melanoma, and renal cell carcinoma.
The new finding opens up new avenues for lung cancer treatment, which can focus on inhibiting MMP-10 activity.
The study is titled, Matrix Metalloproteinase-10 Is Required for Lung Cancer Stem Cell Maintenance, Tumor Initiation and Metastatic Potential and authored by Verline Justilien, Roderick P, Regala, I-Chu Tseng, Michael P. Walsh, Jyotica Batra, Evette S. Radisky, Nicole R. Murray, Alan P. Fields.
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