Big step towards lung cancer cure

  • Society

Big step towards lung cancer cure

Spanish researchers’ findings open a new way of using existing drugs to inhibit cancer cell invasion and metastatic growth in lung cancer. Photo: CIBIR.
Spanish researchers’ findings open a new way of using existing drugs to inhibit cancer cell invasion and metastatic growth in lung cancer. Photo: CIBIR.

Scientists at Centro de Investigación Biomédica de La Rioja (La Rioja Biomedical Research Centre, CIBIR) have found a mechanism that might inhibit metastasis of lung cancer, one of the most common causes of lung cancer mortality.

Researchers Alfredo Martínez, Rafael Peláez and Ignacio Larráyoz, at the Angiogenesis and Biomarkers and Signalling units of CIBIR, demonstrated that blocking β3 integrin, a protein that has a role in the invasion of cancer cells from the primary site, inhibits metastatic growth.

The Spanish researchers’ work consisted in manipulating genes in malignant cells to obtain modified cells that did not produce beta-3 integrin. Afterwards, they found out that these new cells would not invade other tissues.

When beta-3 integrin was reactivated in the new cells, they regained their former invasive capac ity.

Moreover, pharmacological blocking of anti-beta-3 integrin antibodies inhibited cell invasion, which would prevent malignant spreading from the lung.

This finding can lead to new ways of using existing drugs like Etaracizumab or Vitaxin in blocking mechanisms of cancer cell invasion and metastasis.

The study focused on lung cancer cells, but the Spanish researchers said this finding could be replicated in other malignant cells, since many types of cancer cells can produce invadopodia, protrusions of the plasma membrane that are associated with cancer invasiveness.

Researchers from Centre for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) took part in the study along with the CIBIR team. Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII) and the Torres Quevedo programme, the research findings were published in PLOS ONE.

A leading research centre

An affiliate of Fundación Rioja Salud, CIBIR has been a leading research centre in the health sciences since it was established in 2008. It has a clear goal of providing the best possible health care via the relationship between research and health care involving innovative medical technology.

Among CIBIR’s latest achievements are research results in fields such as chronic respiratory disease therapies, gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease or an experimental model for reducing the effects of ocular lesions using hypothermia