Colon cancer could be treated through important heart and eye protein

14 September 2011

A protein which is crucial for the development of the heart and eye might also prove an effective way to halt colon cancer.

Some 85 per cent of cancers originate in epithelial cells which form the tissues of the body's internal and external linings. The BVES (blood vessel endocardial substance) protein is a crucial part in epithelial cell growth.

Findings published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that reintroducing depleted levels of BVES in colon cancer cells that were beginning to spread (known as metastasis) reduced their cancer-like properties so that they became once again more epithelial in nature.

"In cancer, typically the primary tumour doesn't kill you; it's the metastatic disease that proves lethal," explained Christopher Williams, assistant professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, who co-authored the study.

He added that "if targeting BVES could interfere with metastasis, that would be very exciting" for future cancer treatment.

Findings presented at the Society of Microbiology's autumn conference at the University of York highlighted how an ancient form of bacterium that occurs naturally in the soil produced an enzyme that effectively targets brain, breast and prostate tumours.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1 Williams, Christopher S., et. al., "BVES regulates EMT in human corneal and colon cancer cells and is silenced via promoter methylation in human colorectal carcinoma". Journal of Clinical Investigation. Monday September 12th 2011.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)