Presence of SPDEF Protein May Prevent Metastasis of Prostate Cancer Cells

Research published recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry concluded that prostate cancer cells containing the protein SPDEF  continue to grow at the same pace as their SPDEF- cousins, but these SPDEF+ cells are unable to survive  at possible sites of metastasis.  “It’s as if these cancer cells with SPDEF can’t chew into distant tissue and so are unable to make new homes.”

Researchers studied the homesteading power of cancer cells that have lost SPDEF by introducing a gene into cells that make them glow in the presence of dye and introducing them into the bloodstream of animal models. These cells without SPDEF traveled through the bloodstream and successfully attached to tissue, survived, and fluoresced many weeks later when dye was introduced.  However, those cells with SPDEF flowed through the bloodstream but were unable to attach and successfully establish new colonies and subsequently soon died out.

With future research the researchers hopes to  help doctors recognize prostate cancers that do not require treatment, and to regulate the expression of this protein to remove prostate cancers ability to metastasis. –

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