'Decoy' Slows Cancer Spread

Trick kept tumors from setting up blood supply

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MONDAY, July 19, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Targeting a portion of a protein associated with many human cancers could provide better treatment options for patients, says new research in the July issue of Cancer Cell.

The study focused on hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a protein that manages fundamental cell processes. The protein's normal functions can be usurped by tumors to promote growth and survival of cancer, usually through signals received by an HGF receptor called Met.

Italian researchers investigated whether targeted inhibition of signals from the protein could stave off cancer. Using mice, they tested a "decoy" Met that would intercept signals from tumors before they could subvert the normal function of HGF.

The strategy inhibited the growth and survival of tumors, interfered with the ability of tumors to establish a blood supply, and prevented the tumor cells from spreading, the scientists said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about cancer.

SOURCES: Cancer Cell, news release, July 19, 2004

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