Researchers in Switzerland combine Activin B protein and ALK7 receptor to create a signaling pathway that causes cancer cells to die on their own.
One of the biggest challenges of anticancer is to prevent tumor cell metastasis.
A group of researchers in Switzerland combined the Activin B protein and a receptor called ALK7. Activin B plays an important role in the body, taking part in the process of spreading the cell, metabolism, the body's immune response and regulating the menstrual cycle.
When Activin B and ALK7 combine to create signaling pathways, cancer cells die (apoptosis - cell death) and prevent tumors from forming and spreading. To block tumors, ALK7 receptors and Activin B proteins need to work in parallel. If they work alone, cancerous tumors may inhibit either or both to survive.
The team has successfully tested this method in mice with pancreatic nerve and breast cancer. The group continued to look at people with different cancers to understand the association between ALK7 and the possibility of a recurrence of tumors. Initial results show that the metastasis process is slower when the body has higher ALK7 levels, especially for breast cancer patients. Researchers are continuing to conduct human trials.
Although much of the experiment has so far only been done in mice, researchers believe that "people have biological and chemical similarities to rats, especially how to develop cancer tumors."
Professor Douglas Hanahan from the Swiss Federal Research Institute, said ALK7 and Activin B are chemical agents useful in preventing metastatic cancer.
"This is a promising target for future anti-cancer drugs, although more research is needed , " said Professor Douglas Hanahan.