Gynaecological cancer cells “cannibalise”
Posted by hannahflynn on November 18, 2008
A new discovery about the genetic pathways that affect ovarian cancer may open new doors to cancer treatment.
Cells can ‘eat themselves’ through a process known as autophagy, and a protein known as PEA-15 has been found to speed this up in ovarian tumours. This extends the life-expectancy of people suffering from ovarian cancer.
And many other cancer patients may benefit from the findings. PEA-15 binds to a signalling molecule known as ERK which is responsible for the high rate of growth seen in many cancers. So far no ERK inhibitor has been found, though it has long been considered a likely candidate for cancer treatment.
As ovarian cancer is notoriously hard to detect, but is very responsive to treatment the findings are promising.