Scientists in Switzerland may have found a way to inhibit the growth of colon cancer in humans, says a new study published in EMBO Molecular Medicine. Researchers in Geneva discovered that by blocking a particular biological pathway, they could prevent the growth of tumors, metastatic lesions, and cancer stem cells. The Hedgehog-GL1 (HH-GL1) pathway appears to be crucial in the progression of colon cancer to an incurable, late stage. Cells use HH-GL1 to communicate with each other to determine position, growth and survival.See also: 'Hedgehog' pathway may hold key to anti-cancer therapy, EurekAlert, August 26, 2009.
These news reports are about the publication: Human colon cancer epithelial cells harbour active HEDGEHOG-GLI signalling that is essential for tumour growth, recurrence, metastasis and stem cell survival and expansion by Frédéric Varnat and 6 co-authors, including Ariel Ruiz i Altaba, EMBO Molecular Medicine 2009(Aug 27) [Epub ahead of print][Abstract][Full text].
Another excerpt from The Key to Stopping Colon Cancer? (Med Tech Sentinel, August 30, 2009):
Earlier this month, scientists in North Carolina found another genetic target that may be useful in treating colorectal cancer. The pseudokinase ERBB3 is closely related to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is already a target of several drugs used to treat colorectal cancer. Scientists found that genetically blocking ERBB3 was effective at preventing the disease in mice with colon cancer. In human colon cancer cells, removing ERBB3 caused a dramatic increase in cell death.About the publication: Tumor-specific apoptosis caused by deletion of the ERBB3 pseudo-kinase in mouse intestinal epithelium by Daekee Lee and 8 co-authors, including David W Threadgill, J Clin Invest 2009(Aug 17) [Epub ahead of print][PubMed Citation][Full text].