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Boston College biologists build a better mouse model for cancer research
Date:4/9/2008

p>"We show that the metastatic cells have macrophage properties," said doctoral researcher Leanne Huysentruyt, the lead author of the paper, who will present the findings April 13, when the American Association for Cancer Research meets. Knowing this should allow for new types of therapies that target the macrophage-like cells.

Metastasis, the spread of cancer from a primary site to other tissues and organs within the body, is the primary cause of death among cancer patients and remains largely unmanageable. Without an animal model that consistently reproduces human-like metastases, researchers have relied primarily on individual cancer patients to assess new therapies.

"The development of new drugs for cancer lags behind basic research," said Seyfried. "How can you cure a disease when you have no model system that replicates the disease except for the sick humans? It's almost as if each person who develops the disease is a guinea pig."

Seyfried said when a person has metastatic cancer, the macrophage-like tumor cells multiply and attack the body, system by system. Human metastatic cancers include breast, lung, colon and melanoma. When injected into mice, the metastatic cancer cells spread to other systems within three weeks.

"This will have an impact on how we view the role of macrophages in cancer progression," said Huysentruyt.

Seyfrieds research was funded, in part, by a grant from the American Institute of Cancer Research, which praised the findings.

"We are happy to be able to contribute to Dr. Seyfried's academic and professional progress," said Ivana Vucenik, a spokeswoman for the institute. "As a result of our support, Dr. Seyfried has made a major advance in this field."


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Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert

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