Metastasis is the process through which a cancer spreads to other parts of the body. The key to survival rate is to put a stop to metastasis. It has been found recently in a study that primary tumors can hamper the growth of a secondary tumor by developing a particular mechanism.
Recent work against metastasis includes targeting protein that protects the loose tumor cells and other mechanisms that help cells tarnish the main tumor. Studying metastasis in mice, researchers have now found a new mechanism at play. A development of an eccentric ecosystem in which breast tumors let out signals to “breakaway cells” which are making their way to other areas of the body. It was found that these signals actively stopped the secondary tumors from growing.
The immune system is stimulated by the primary tumors through an inflammatory response. The immune cells get ready to launch an attack on the secondary tumor and freeze their growth.
The co-author of the study, Sandra McAllister, further reveals that the breakaway cells can remain in a transition state for long period of time, tend to not grow well, compromising their ability to form tumors. Hence, quite remarkably, the primary tumor sets on inhibiting its own growth.
Researchers say that there is evidence that the same process could take place in human body. The researchers are now studying how to find effective ways to maneuver the process of signaling by the primary tumors to help inhibit cancer spread. They have been able to identify some of these signals for activating the immune system and the response of immune cells.
Christine Chaffer, another co-author of the study, mentions that the goal of their work is to imitate the freezing action of the secondary cells so that all types of breast cancers could inhibit secondary tumor growth. The effort is to understand how the immune response is being stimulated and immune cells are targeting the secondary tumors, as each step is a welcome site for therapeutic advantages against cancer spread.
Hopefully, the new research would pave way for increasing the survival rates of breast cancer patients undergoing metastasis. It is hoped other types of tumors and breast cancers can be fought against in the same manner as well.