Scientists Develop Potential New Approach to Stop Cancer Metastasis
Researchers have identified a compound that blocks the spread of pancreatic and other cancers in various animal models. When cancer spreads from one part of the body to another in a process called metastasis, it can eventually grow beyond the reach of effective therapies. Now, there is a new plan of attack against this deadly process, thanks to scientists at NIH, Northwestern University and their research partners.
The team collaborated to identify a compound, which they named metarrestin, that stopped tumor metastasis in multiple animal models. Mice treated with metarrestin also had fewer tumors and lived longer than mice that did not receive treatment. Results were published May 16 in Science Translational Medicine.
“Many drugs are aimed at stopping cancer growth and killing cancer cells,” said co-author Dr. Juan Marugan, group leader of the NCATS Chemical Genomics Center. “However, there is no single approved drug specifically aimed at treating metastasis. Our results show metarrestin is a very promising agent that we should continue to investigate against metastasis.”
In patients, metarrestin potentially could be effective as a therapy after cancer surgery. Because advanced cancers are difficult to completely remove with surgery, doctors typically give chemotherapy to try to kill undetected cancer cells left behind and prevent the cancer from coming back. Metarrestin could be added to such standard drug therapy.