British scientists have identified a molecule that may be responsible for the spread of lung cancer.
Researchers at Hammersmith Hospital in Imperial College London have published the study in the European Molecular Biology Organisation’s journal. This breakthrough is said to be a first step toward developing a treatment for small-cell lung cancer.
The molecule, a member of the PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) family, may be crucial to the spread of the disease since it influences several growth factor signals that cause cancer cells to spread and divide. In small lung cancer cells, scientists found there was too much of the molecule compared to normal lung tissue.
Michael Seckl of Hammersmith Hospital, who led the research, said the study is “an important discovery that will help us in working towards a treatment that targets and destroys the molecule and in so doing, stops cancer of the lung growing”.
It is an “important step forward” to be able to identify a common single molecule within each cancer cell that allows the different growth factors to function.
Because small-cell lung cancer can spread in response to many growth factors, targeting individual factors on their own is not likely to be as successful.
Dr Seckl said “we are desperate to identify new therapies”.
“Discovering what this molecule does is a major step towards developing treatment that targets it directly and may help future generations of patients”.
(Source: ABC Online)