UCI professor having success in cancer fight

-- Deirdre Newman

Efforts to stop one of the deadliest cancers are bearing fruit at UC

Irvine.

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

Therapeutics.

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

cancerous cells.

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.

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