Sonntag, 24.10.2021 16:56 Uhr

Medicine Italian discovery on the aggressiveness of cancer

Verantwortlicher Autor: Maira Di Tano EN, 01.09.2021, 19:57 Uhr
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The research group of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the CNR of Pavia
The research group of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the CNR of Pavia  Bild: Maira Di Tano

EN [ENA] The research group of the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the CNR of Pavia has identified a new mechanism that contributes to making cancer more aggressive. The study, directed by Dr. Claudia Ghigna in collaboration with various Italian and international research centers and universities.

The study, directed by Dr. Claudia Ghigna in collaboration with various Italian and international research centers and universities, was published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications and supported by the AIRC Foundation for cancer research. The invaluable contribution of the team of Italian scientists has therefore made it possible to identify a new feature from the blood vessels that nourish the tumor, which could be exploited both as a new marker of tumor angiogenesis and as a possible molecular target for more effective anti-cancer therapies.

Dr. Davide Pradella, cited as the first name in the work and supported by an AIRC research grant, explains what this new discovery consists of: "We have identified a new protein variant expressed only on the surface of tumor blood vessels". "This new variant of the UNC5B protein contributes to making cancer more aggressive and represents a new tumor marker and possible molecular target" continues Dr. Ghigna.

The role of tumor vessels in tumor growth has long been known, in fact tumor cells need oxygen and nutrients to multiply and form metastases in other organs. Targeting the formation of these vessels, called tumor angiogenesis, therefore represents a promising approach but which, so far, has shown only modest results in patients who often develop resistance mechanisms. The research group of Dr. Ghigna has been dealing for years with the mechanisms that regulate angiogenesis. Research has focused on 'alternative splicing', a so-called 'cut and sew' mechanism, which allows the building blocks of genes to be assembled in various ways and, as a consequence, to generate different proteins from the same initial template.

The factor driving the machine that generates the new variant of the UNC5B protein was identified in blood vessel cells for the first time in 2015 by the research group of the Institute of Molecular Genetics in a study published in Nature Communications. In the latest work, the researchers went to see the characteristics that made this new variant unique. This study therefore made it possible to identify a new feature from the blood vessels that feed the tumor, which could be exploited both as a new marker of tumor angiogenesis and as a possible molecular target for more effective anti-cancer therapies. (Doctor Maira Di Tano, Italian biologist and researcher at the "Institute of Molecular Oncology" in Milan) - www.italianews.org

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