Last update 04/07/2012 08:30:00 AM
British scientists discover new pathway to treat mouth cancer
A protein that is overactive in mouth cancer and encourages tumors to grow could be a new pathway for treating the disease, a study showed on Monday.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) said in a statement that its researchers have found that the FRMD4A protein is permanently switched on in cancer, and the higher the levels, the more likely the disease is to spread and return.
They reported in the latest issue of the Cancer Research journal that by blocking FRMD4A, they were able to stop cancers growing and spreading, and increased survival of mice with the cancer.
"What's really exciting about this research is that we already have potential drugs that can be used to target this protein or compensate for the effects that it is having," said Dr. Stephen Goldie, who carried out this work at CRUK's Cambridge Research Institute.
"The drugs could offer new options to patients where surgery and chemotherapy hasn't worked or could be used alongside them," Goldie added.
The researchers said what is needed now is to start trials with this discovery, and it could make a real difference to people with mouth cancer in the future.