By the editorial staff
The researchers, led by Professor Cedric Blanpaindirector of the laboratory of stem cells and cancer of the Free University of Brussels (ULB), focused on epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process by which cancer cells detach from neighboring cells and can become invasive. This promotes the formation of metastasis and resistance to anticancer treatments.
However, to date, there is no specific drug for EMT. As part of their research, Prof. Blanpain and his colleagues found that tumor cells with EMT expressed high levels of the netrin-1 protein. They then decided to partner with the company Netris Pharmawhich has developed an antibody targeting this protein.
ULB researchers have shown that this antibody helps reduce the formation of tumors and block EMT in these tumors, which reduces their ability to form metastases. ULB members continued their work with the University of Lyon and Netris Pharma to study the effect of the drug on patients con endometrial cancer (mucous layer that lines the inside of the uterus). The study, published in the journal Nature, reveals that the administration of this antibody has shown no toxicity in humans. As an added bonus, this drug has been shown to reduce EMT and metastasis well in female patients.
Scientists will continue their work now to study the long-term effects of this new therapy. Studies are planned in other cancer types that exhibit EMT such as some lung or breast cancers.
Important news in the scientific field, which for John D’Agatapresident of the “Sportelli dei Diretti” seems to be able to give one hope to millions of people who fall ill with the evil of the third millennium.