no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found a cancer gene, RhoC, that that may be key to stopping the spread of breast cancer stem cells.
Cancer stem cells are the small number of cells within a tumor that are believed to fuel the tumor’s growth and spread.
This new study, which appears online in PLoS ONE, suggests that halting the spread of these cancer stem cells by targeting this gene may help doctors more effectively treat certain breast cancer patients.
“Targeting the specific molecular cogs driving the cancer stem cell machinery responsible for the cancer spreading has potential for future treatments. Eliminating cancer stem cells may ultimately be necessary to cure certain cancers, but in the meantime, we may be able to manage the cancer stem cell population and the invasive behaviors of these cells by disrupting the molecular machinery, using RhoC as a target,” says senior study author Sofia D. Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Michigan and scientific director of the breast oncology program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Merajver’s lab, in conjunction with other U-M researchers, is studying a novel small molecule drug to inhibit RhoC, which has shown promising initial results in the laboratory. The researchers are continuing to develop this inhibitor, which will require several years of additional testing in the laboratory before potentially advancing to clinical trials.
Approximately 230,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society
Photo of Sofia D. Merajver, M.D., Ph.D., courtesy of University of Michigan