Scientists from the Edinburgh University announced that they had found the mechanism that allows breast cancer to spread to the lungs, wrote The Guardian.
The team of scientists found that blocking it in mice with the disease reduced the number of secondary tumors in the lungs. The researchers hope that their achievement would lead to new therapies to stop the breast cancer development. The reason for the majority of deaths in this form of cancer is the penetration of malignant cells in other body parts, the lungs being the first organs affected.
The team from the Centre for Reproductive Health at the University has researched the role of an immune cell called a macrophage in relation to the spread of cancerous cells from the primary tumor. Previous studies have shown that cancer cells use macrophages to penetrate into the lungs. The new study found that macrophages communicate with the cancer cells through chemokine signaling molecules. When these signals in mice are blocked, the number of secondary tumors decreases by up to two thirds. Moreover, the suspension of the signal stopped the entry of malignant cells in the lungs through the bloodstream and prevented the already entrenched cells to form new tumors.
Cells in the human body use chemokines signals to communicate with each other, which gives hope that as a result of the discovery new treatments for other body parts can be created.