'Vicious cycle of inflammation' inhibited

25 November 2014

A 'vicious cycle of inflammation' that promotes tumour growth could be stopped by targeting a specific enzyme, a new study has found.

A team at the University of Alberta has discovered a new approach to fighting breast and thyroid cancers by targeting autotaxin, which starts a process that leads to the growth and resistance of tumours.

Autotaxin is responsible for producing lysophosphatidic acid, which promotes cancer cell survival, growth and metastasis and is linked to resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Led by biochemistry professor David Brindley, they found that inhibiting the activity of the enzyme autotaxin limited early tumour growth in the breast by up to 70 per cent. It also reduces metastasis to other parts of the body by a similar margin. 

"Essentially, the body hijacks this enzyme to help a tumour grow, survive treatment and spread to other areas of the body," said Professor Brindley, senior author of a series of related studies. "By inhibiting it, we found we could block the growth of breast and thyroid tumours and break the cycle of treatment resistance."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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