Pushing Back Against Colorectal Cancer

BVES protein may be colorectal cancer target

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) After cancer cells escape the original tumor, they invade tissue and can more easily move to other parts of the body. New research has identified a protein that helps block that progression.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville have discovered the protein BVES suppresses colorectal cancer from progressing and spreading. This discovery could lead to BVES being a new target for treating and preventing the disease.

Protein - BVES - butts colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is one of the types that starts in cells that cover the body's internal and external surfaces. When cancers begin in these epithelial cells they are known as epithelial cancers.

When these cancers start to invade other areas of the body, the epithelial cancer cells begin to behave like other types of cells called mesenchymal cells.

Certain proteins regulate this transition from epithelial to mesenchymal. They're called junctional proteins and that's what BVES is. It controls the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in human colon cancer cells.

The team, led by Vanderbilt researchers Min Chang and Christopher Williams found that there are fewer BVES proteins in all stages of colon cancer. So, the theory is that restoring the protective BVES proteins with new targeted therapies could treat and possibly even prevent colon cancer.

This research appears in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Review Date: 
September 13, 2011
Last Updated:
September 13, 2011