-- Deirdre Newman
Efforts to stop one of the deadliest cancers are bearing fruit at UC
Researchers there recently made a discovery that may ultimately slow
the growth of pancreatic tumor cells and increase survival rates for the
world's fourth-deadliest cancer.
The study appears in the January issue of Molecular Cancer
Murray Korc, professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology at UCI
Medical Center, and his colleagues found that the binding of growth
factors to "dummy" receptors -- ones incapable of sending signals to
cells -- sharply reduced tumor sizes and decreased the spread of cancer
cells to other parts of the body. The dummy receptors acted like a
sponge, mopping up excess levels of the growth factor found in the
Dummy receptors are being used clinically to reduce excessive
inflammation in arthritis. While the cellular interactions involved in
pancreatic cancer are different from those in arthritis, Korc hopes the
dummy receptor concept may prove as effective in pancreatic cancer.
Korc and his colleagues are now looking at how the dummy receptor may
be developed into an effective treatment.