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Cancer blog: Book Marks For The Cancer Cells

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Dec 16, 2005

Book Marks For The Cancer Cells

Book Marks For The Cancer Cells
"Cellular bookmarks" are established by non-malignant bone marrow cells in target organs, which direct the spread of cancer cells to their predetermined destination. The researchers of Howard Hughes Medical institute says.

This discovery may help identify subsets of high-risk cancer patients who are prone to distant metastases. Those patients would likely benefit from a more aggressive adjuvant therapy to prevent cancer relapse.

The researchers, led by David Lyden and Shahin Rafii , published their findings in a January issue of the journal Nature. Lyden and his colleagues are at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Weill Medical College. Shahin Rafii is an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at weill Medical college of Cornell University.

Rafii and Lyden's group had established that a specific subset of bone marrow derived cells (BMDCs ) - involving hematopoietic progenitor cells capable of dividing and forming colonies- are recruited by tumors to help the growth of new blood vessels.

In experiments with mice that had been implanted with highly metastatic lung cancers or melanoma cells, the scientists discovered that BMDCs did, indeed, arrive at the pre-metastatic sites before the arrival of cancer cells.

The researchers showed that there was a significant decrease in succeeding tumor metastasis by the intervention with the mobilization of VEGFR1-positive cells from the bone marrow and incorporation into the pre-metastatic niche.

A number of regulatory molecules were identified by the researcher, including the adhesion molecule VLA4 and the protease MMP-9, which were necessary for BMDCs to establish the pre-metastatic niches in target organs and for tumor cells to find and attach to those niches.


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Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

Cancer blog: Book Marks For The Cancer Cells

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