Exciting cancer discovery
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Merck & Co.’s (Merck) ratings, and revised the Rating Outlook to Negative from Stable. The ratings affirmed are: Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AA-’; Senior unsecured debt rating at ‘AA-’; Bank loan rating at ‘AA-’; Short-term IDR at ‘F1+’. The ratings apply to approximately $6.93 billion of outstanding
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Metastasis is the ability of cancer cells to spread from a primary site, to form tumours at distant sites.
It is a complex process in which cell motility and invasion play a fundamental role. Essential to our understanding of how metastasis develops is identification of the molecules, and characterisation of the mechanisms that regulate cell motility. Hitherto, these mechanisms have been poorly understood. Now, a team of researchers lead by Professor Marco Falasca at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has shown not only that the enzyme phospholipase C?(PLC? plays a crucial role in metastasis formation, but that down regulation of PLC?expression is able to revert metastasis progression.
The team investigated the role of PLC?in cell invasion and metastasis using different approaches to modulate its expression in highly invasive cancer cell lines. Their results showed that PLC?is required for breast cancer cell invasion and activation of the protein Rac1. They revealed a functional link between PLC?and Rac1 that provides insight into processes regulating cell invasion.
Professor Falasca explained: “Consistent with these data we detected an increase in PLC1 expression in metastases compared to primary tumours in breast cancer patients. Therefore PLC?is critical for metastasis formation, and development and inhibition of this enzyme has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of metastasis dissemination.”
“This is an exciting discovery. He has shown that turning off this molecule prevents metastasis. The simple fact is that if you stop metastasis, you stop cancer from killing people. We now need to focus on developing drugs that can block PLC?”
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University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have identified a promising new target in the battle against colorectal cancer - a biochemical pathway critical to the spread of tumors to new locations in the body. If this “survival pathway” can be successfully blocked under clinical conditions, the result would be a much-needed new therapy
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New research in mice and five independent collections of human breast tumors has enabled National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientists to confirm that genes for factors contributing to susceptibility for breast cancer metastasis can be inherited. The new findings support earlier results from the same laboratory and appear in the Jan. 1, 2009, issue of Cancer
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