Bladder Cancer Research Finds Protein That Stops Metastasis In Its Tracks

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Bladder cancer deaths worldwide per 100,000 inhabitants. Colors darken, as death rates increase. Image courtesy of WHO

Bladder cancer, according to the CDC, is the 5th most common type of cancer, and has a high short-term survival rate. Unfortunately, however, the larger danger in this type of cancer comes from metastasis, or spread of the cancer cells. When bladder cancer spreads to other portions of the body, such as your lungs, your prognosis drops precipitously.

But now, there’s good news for the future of cancer treatment: A new study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, demonstrates the mechanism of bladder cancer metastasis, but that’s not the biggest finding. Researchers actually isolated a method for stopping the spread of cancer entirely which relies on the inhibition of a protein called CCL2 – since CCL2 inhibitors are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of other conditions, such as diabetes.

New Cancer Treatment: Implications

According to the University of Colorado’s press release, “If the effect in humans is the same as the effect in the laboratory – namely that inhibiting CCL2 reduces versican’s ability to attract the macrophages that promote tumor growth at distant sites – one of these CCL2 inhibitors could soon become part of the treatment regimen for bladder cancer patients with tumors that make low levels of RhoGDI2 and high versican. This approach has the potential to lower the chance of bladder cancer metastasis and thus a significantly improved outcome for patients with high risk bladder cancer.”

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