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Scientists find protein spurs spread of prostate cancer
Date:5/19/2010

(PHILADELPHIA) Researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have found that Stat5, a signaling protein previously found to be key to survival of prostate cancer, is also involved in metastasis.

Their study, published in the online edition of Endocrine-Related Cancer, demonstrates in both laboratory and animal models that nuclear Stat5 over-expression leads to a deadly spread of the cancer. They add that their work with mice was unique in that it was the first time Stat5 was associated with prostate cancer metastasis processes in an animal model.

"Until now, we thought that Stat5 was involved in primarily promoting tumor growth, but this study indicates it could be one of the key players in pushing prostate cancer to spread," said Marja Nevalainen, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Cancer Biology, Urology and Medical Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. "This seminal paper is sure to open up a new avenue of research, including investigation of therapies that could target Stat5 expression. Fresh approaches are needed since there are no effective therapies for prostate cancer that has metastasized."

This study is just the latest from Dr. Nevalainen's laboratory to show the increasing importance of the Stat5 transcription factor a protein that can regulate expression of other genes. In 2004, she found that nuclear Stat5 is often over-expressed in high-grade human prostate cancer, and in 2005, she demonstrated that Stat5 activity was associated with recurrence of prostate cancer in patients who had already been treated. She then showed in 2008 that nuclear Stat5 was especially prevalent in recurrent prostate cancers that are resistant to hormone therapy. Her research has also demonstrated that blocking Stat5 in laboratory and in animal models effectively destroyed prostate cancer.

"We know that Stat5 is absolutely critical to the survival of prostate cancer cells," she said.'/>"/>

Contact: Emily Shafer
emily.shafer@jefferson.edu
215-955-6300
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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