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New regulatory mechanism discovered for cell identify and behavior in forming organs
Date:10/31/2008

ructures then spread into surrounding organs and tissues.

In cancer development, the research team is suggesting a loss of Sfrp function may unleash Wnt to trigger elevated B-catenin expression, allowing its stimulation of cell-to-cell adhesion to proliferate quickly. Rapid cell proliferation and adhesion are common in cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. It could also let Wnt send improper signals that cause a loss of structural integrity in epithelial cells, allowing cancer to spread, or metastasize.

"We talked about this mechanism in the context of cancer because the control of cell specificity, and of movement and behavior, also occurs in cancer," Dr. Zorn said. "Cells will start to proliferate out of control and then, when a cancer starts to go metastatic, they will also start to change behavior. They become motile, moving spontaneously and actively, and they become invasive."

The early stage nature of the study means it would be premature to suggest the Wnt11-Sfrp5 mechanism might become the basis of diagnostic or therapeutic strategies for patients, Dr. Zorn said. The next step is to use these results as a basis for future studies, probably involving mice, to verify the mechanism's applicability to mammalian embryo development and see how it affects disease, he said.


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Contact: Nick Miller
nicholas.miller@cchmc.org
513-803-6035
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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