Scientists Discover Gene Responsible for Spread of Cancer

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Researchers at the University of East Anglia have isolated a gene that encourages cancer to move around the body, according to the BBC News. Blocking the gene could prevent the spread of cancer in the body because the gene, WWP2, is responsible for the breakdown of an inhibitor that usually monitors and restrains cells. The researchers observed that in tissue cultures without the inhibitor, Smad7, cancer cells spread rapidly, but when the WWP2 gene was blocked, the cancer did not spread. "I think we're really onto something important if we can put a wall around a cancer and lock it in place," said Dr. Andrew Chantry, the leader of the study. Blocking cancer cells would keep them from moving through the bloodstream and starting a new or secondary tumor in a different area of the body. Secondary tumors are typically difficult to treat. The researchers hope this discovery will lead to a new generation of cancer drugs that could be used to stop the aggressive spread of most forms of the disease. Click here to read more from the BBC News.