Cells under siege

时间:2019-03-07 01:13:06166网络整理admin

By Nell Boyce CANCEROUS tumours could have their lifelines cut by ungluing cells in the walls of their supporting blood vessels. This may help starve tumours of the ability to recruit and grow new blood vessel networks, say Canadian researchers. Blood vessels induced by cancers are poorly formed and leaky, because they do not have the structural properties of normal blood vessels, such as smooth muscle cells called pericytes that wrap around them like duct tape. So Orest Blaschuk of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, has developed a new compound that exploits such flaws by dissolving the weak biological glue that holds the cells of a tumour’s blood vessels together. Blaschuk and his colleagues created a peptide that blocks the cell adhesion molecule N-cadherin. This normally binds the surfaces of these cells to each other. The researchers then injected their compound, named Exherin, into human ovarian tumours grown on mice. Within 24 hours, the tumours had stopped growing. Surgical removal showed that their blood vessels had broken up, and after 11 days, most of the tumour cells had died, Blaschuk told a meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in Washington DC this week. “This is the first time that anyone has demonstrated that this approach has any usefulness for cancer or other diseases,” says Blaschuk. Whether the compounds will also prevent new blood growth is unclear. If not, they could still be used to kill a tumour’s blood supply while other drugs work to keep it from getting new vessels, Blaschuk says. He hopes that Exherin, which has not produced any side effects at large doses in mice,