Brain Protein May Be the Key to New Cancer Treatments

November 23, 2020 11:05:44

Scientists have discovered that Netrin-G1, a protein that plays a role in neuron development in the brain, also has a hand in the growth and development of pancreatic cancer. The study results show that this particular protein protects pancreatic cancer cells from a person’s immune system while also providing important nutrients.

Pancreatic cancer is among the hardest cancers to treat as its tumors grow additional connective tissue in the pancreas. This helps the cancer grow while also providing it with a biochemical and physical protective barrier against an individual’s immune system as well as the drugs administered to fight the disease. Cancer-associated fibroblast, a cell that interacts with the disease’s cells to help it survive and grow, makes up this protective barrier.

Dr. Edna Cukierman, an associate professor at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, explains that the researchers developed a system that they utilized in their study of cancer-associated fibroblast. Their study focused on how the cells behaved within the pancreas.

The key discovery showed that Netrin-G1 supports pancreatic cancer cell survival. The research was financed in part by the Worldwide Cancer Research and reported in Cancer Discovery. In addition to their findings, the researchers found that the antibody that counterbalanced the Neutrin-G1 protein impeded pancreatic cancer tumor development in mice. This shows that new treatments that combat pancreatic cancer can be developed.

Cukierman, who was also the lead of the study, stated that patients who had the Netrin-G1 protein expressed in the cancer-associated fibroblasts survived for a brief period of time. She says that, in the future, diagnosing patients might feature Netrin-G1 detection, adding that limiting the function of the protein would give researchers a basis for the development of better treatments for pancreatic cancer.

More than 10,000 individuals are diagnosed every year with pancreatic cancer in the UK. Sadly, more than 9,000 of these individuals succumb to the cancer. This specific type of cancer has very low survival rates, with only one in every 20 individuals surviving with the disease for a decade or more after they’ve been diagnosed. In the United Kingdom, every one in four individuals diagnosed with this particular cancer will live for more than one year.

Dr. Helen Rippon, CEO of Worldwide Cancer Research, stated that this new finding by Cukierman’s research team represented was progress, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, adding that this showed researchers’ dedication to finding cures. The progress, Rippon says, is good news, especially to those who have lost a loved one to this deadly disease.

Many firms are engaged in working to provide remedies to different forms of hard-to-treat cancers. One such company is CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP). This company’s main drug candidate is aimed at an aggressive type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme.

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