Researchers identify anti-cancer amino acid fragment

Los Angeles, May 22 (IANS) Scientists have identified an amino acid fragment that can be used to halt cancer spread, says a study.

By studying proteins thrombospondin-1 and prosaposin, a trans-Atlantic research team has identified a five-amino acid fragment of prosaposin that significantly reduces metastatic spread in mouse models of prostate, breast and lung cancer.

The findings suggest that a prosaposin-based drug could potentially block metastasis in a variety of cancers, reports Science Daily.

The research team, led by Randolph Watnick from Boston Children’s Hospital, Vivek Mittal from Weill Cornell Medical College, and Lars Akslen from the University of Bergen, released their findings in the May issue of the journal Cancer Discovery.

The main cause of cancer mortality is not the primary tumour itself, but rather its spread — metastasis — to other locations in the body and subsequent organ failure.

Watnick believes the findings offer a window of therapeutic opportunity.

“If we can trigger monocytes recruited by pro-metastatic tumors to produce thrombospondin-1 like those recruited by non-metastatic tumours, we will be able to hijack the mechanism by which tumours create metastasis-permissive sites to close the door on those sites,” Watnick said.

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