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New cancer-fighting strategy focuses on signaling molecules
Date:2/24/2010

Cancer researchers studying the immune system have identified a previously unrecognized set of targets and biomarkers to battle solid tumors.

The findings center on discovery of signaling molecules that are major players in a biochemical mechanism linking certain actions of B cells to solid tumor growth. The most notable implication of the study is that a drug in use for more than decade to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a cancer of the B cells, might be effective against other solid tumors, says lead author Lisa Coussens, PhD, of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"This is paradigm shifting," emphasizes Coussens, who is a pioneer in studying the role of molecular regulation in cellular inflammation that is linked to development of cancer. "The discoveries open up our thinking to many new signaling molecules as potential therapeutic targets.''

The research is published online and in print by the scientific journal "Cancer Cell" (vol.17, issue 2, http://www.cell.com/cancer-cell/current).

"These are very significant findings because they suggest that Rituxan, a drug that we already are familiar with, could have very broad clinical implications in the treatment of some solid tumors,'' says Coussens, who also is a professor in the UCSF Department of Pathology and co-director of the Mouse Pathology Core and Program in Cancer, Immunity and Microenvironment.

The researchers found that a class of antibodies known as immunoglobulin G and the receptors to which they bind play a key role in the link between B cells and solid tumor growth. Called FcRgamma, these receptors are found on cells of the innate immune system (including mast cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells). The activation of FcRgamma plays a part in recruiting circulating immune cells to neoplastic (abnormal) tissue, which in turn enhances development of new blood v
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Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez
efernandez@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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