Towards An Age Without Metastasis

Cancer without metastasis would be that much less threatening of an age-related condition. One effect of ever increasing knowledge of cellular processes will be the elimination of cancer's spread. From EurekAlert!: "For a cell such as a cancer cell to migrate, it first must detach itself from neighboring cells and the intercellular material to which it is anchored. Before it can do this, it receives an order from outside the cell saying: 'prepare to move.' This signal takes the form of a substance called a growth factor ... the team mapped all of the genetic changes that take place in the cell after the growth factor signal is received. As they sifted through the enormous amount of data they received, including details on every protein level that went up or down, one family of proteins stood out. Tensins, as they're are called, are proteins that stabilize the cell structure. ... the growth factor directly influences levels of both [tensin] proteins, and that these, in turn, control the cells' ability to migrate. Blocking production of the short tensin protein kept cells in their place, while overproduction of this protein plug increased their migration." Researchers are in the early stages of evaluating compounds to manipulate tensins; if they work out, tensin inhibitors would be another armament for anti-cancer dendrimer technology.


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