image credit: Piqsels

Discovery opens up the possibility to predict metastases even before cancer develops

February 16, 2021

The researchers analyzed cells, mouse models, and human patient samples using biochemical, mathematical, and biophysical methods. They identified a protein present in the mesh-like membrane structure (the basement membrane) associated with tumor and vessel softness, and good survival of cancer patients.

The researchers tested if removing this protein from the basement membrane would enhance the spread of cancer, which it did, and if supply of this protein would reduce cancer spread, which it did. They proceeded to show that the levels of this protein (netrin-4) already present in basement membrane of organs may determine cancer spread even before cancer develops, in several cancer types.

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