18 November 2015
Researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered that Sclerostin (SOST), a protein commonly found in bones, can help to prevent prostate cancer from metastasising.
When prostate cancer spreads, it often forms new tumours in the skeleton. These can be extremely painful, and they also cause 70 per cent of all deaths from the disease.
The scientists found that bones that have low levels of SOST are particularly vulnerable to cell migration and invasion, which are the mechanisms by which cancers are able to spread.
A follow-up study revealed that SOST was also able to prevent the spread of prostate cancer in vitro. This surprised the researchers, as it had previously been suggested that bones offered a rich environment for cancer cells to replicate. However, it appears that only bones with low levels of SOST are particularly vulnerable.
It is hoped that this discovery could lead to the development of new prostate cancer treatments in the future.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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