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For many types of cancer, the original tumor itself is usually not deadly. Instead, it’s the spread of a tiny subpopulation of cells from the primary tumor to other parts of the body—the process known as metastasis—that all too often kills the patient.
The regulatory molecules are involved in forming invadopodia, the protrusions that enable tumor cells to turn metastatic – by becoming motile, degrading extracellular material, penetrating blood vessels and, ultimately, seeding themselves in other parts of the body.
Doctor John Condeelis, co-chair and professor of anatomy and structural biology, and his team at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University identified two molecules (p190RhoGEF and p190RhoGAP) that regulate the activity of RhoC, an enzyme that plays a crucial role during tumor metastasis and that has been identified as a biomarker for invasive breast cancer.
“In vitro as well as in vivo studies have shown that RhoC’s activity is positively correlated with increased invasion and motility of tumor cells,” said corresponding author Doctor Jose Javier Bravo-Cordero, a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Condeelis. “The new players we’ve identified as regulating RhoC could serve as therapeutic drug targets in efforts to block tumor metastasis.”
MEDICA.de; Source: Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University