Scientists working with mice just discovered how cells can stop the spread of cancer

(David Nield/ Science Alert) — One of the biggest challenges in fighting cancer is stopping metastasis – preventing tumour cells from spreading through the body. Now scientists have identified a promising new way of blocking this growth, and it’s shown great results in mice.

A team of researchers in Switzerland have found a “barrier” that stops cancer from metastasising. It’s built by a protein called Activin B and a receptor called ALK7 – the combo appears to play a crucial role in stopping tumours in their tracks.

The results of their research so far show that Activin B and ALK7 create a signalling pathway that causes cancer cells to naturally kill themselves off (apoptosis), and prevents tumours from forming (tumorigenesis) and spreading.

While the bulk of the tests so far have only been carried out in mice, we share enough biological and chemical similarities with the furry rodents, especially when it comes to how cancer develops – hence this barrier could be a promising target for cancer-fighting drugs in the future. (…)

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