A protein critical to the spread of deadly cancer cells has been discovered by researchers who have determined how it works, paving the way for potential use in diagnosis and eventually possible therapeutic drugs to halt or slow the spread of cancer. The protein, Aiolos, is produced by normal blood cells but commits a kind of “identity theft” of blood cells when expressed by cancer cells, allowing the latter to metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. Metastatic cancer cells have the ability to break free from tissue, circulate in the blood stream, and form tumors all over the body, in a way acting like blood cells.
Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center. “New mechanism explaining how cancer cells spread.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2014.
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