Metastasis is the process by which tumors spread to different parts of the body, making cancer even more difficult to treat. Researchers in the United Kingdom recently made an exciting discovery about how metastasis occurs, which holds promise for developing a cure.
Investigating the Science behind Metastasis
Up to 90 percent of cancer deaths are a result of metastasis. Unfortunately, scientists were unable to get a clear understanding of how cancer cells travel to other parts of the body.
Last year a team at the UK’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute conducted a study of how tumors spread in genetically engineered mice. After screening for 810 genes, they were able to identify 23 that either positively or negatively affected the spread of skin cancer to the lungs.
The most effective change came upon removing the Spns2 gene. After finding that metastasis to the lungs was reduced by approximately four times, the researchers repeated the procedure with breast, colon and lung cancers with similar results.
Positive Implications for Immunotherapy Research
This discovery is particularly relevant for the continuing development of immunotherapy for cancer. Scientists already knew that the Spns2 gene affects the immune system, but they had no idea it was a factor in metastasis. They found that the mice in the study that lacked the Spns2 gene had a ratio of immune cells that varied from the normal amount.
Immunotherapy for Cancer and Tumor Metastasis
Our integrative immunotherapy treatments have been used successfully on patients with metastasis involving various types of cancer, including lung, liver and bone. Contact us for more information about the history of Issels® and our immunotherapy programs.