Stopping Breast Cancer in its Tracks

Breast cancer metastasis could be blocked by boosting Tyk2 activity

(RxWiki News) Breast cancer that has not begun to spread (metastasize) beyond the original tumor is likely survivable. When the cancer starts to fan out, controlling the disease becomes much more difficult.  Scientists may have pinpointed a way to block this deadly spread.

The Tyk2 protein is known to help slow and suppress the growth and spread of cancerous breast tumors. A new study shows that this molecule could be the target for new therapies.

"Scientists zero in on way to block spread of breast cancer."

In a multi-center animal study, scientists learned that mice with deficient in Tyk2 that are injected with breast cancer cells will have increased tumor growth and metastasis, compared with mice that have a normal supply of the Tyk2 protein.

Qifang Zhang and Andrew Larner, from the Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA) and colleagues from VCU and Temple University School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA), Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), and Miyazaki University (Japan) conclude that defects in Tyk2 expression damages the animals' immune system to the point that it can't defend against the tumor. 

The take-away is that increasing Tyk2 activity may work to arrest breast cancer, according to  Ganes C. Sen, Ph.D., chairman, of molecular genetics at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Findings from this study are published in the Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research.

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Review Date: 
October 7, 2011