In many cases, cancer patients eventually die because cancer cells spread to other organs. In a world first, Korean researchers have discovered the process of how lymph node metastasis takes place which is the initial-stage symptom of the metastasis of cancer.
Metastasis accounts for 90 percent of the cause of death of cancer patients. The immune system known as the lymphatic gland or lymphatic node is one of the first places to which cancer spreads. But it’s never been found how this actually progresses.
[Soundbite] Lee Chung-geun(Institute for Basic Science) : “The lymph node is filled with immunocytes which present a rather hostile environment for cancer cells. So we wonder how the cells are transferred here and move on to other organs.”
A Korean research team has found for the first time in the world the theory behind lymph node metastasis. A team at the Institute for Basic Science led by Koh GyuYoung has discovered that when cancer cells spread to the lymphatic gland, fatty acids are consumed as the main energy source. It had been thought until now that the metastasis of cancer cells used glucose as the energy source. The team confirmed that lymph node metastasis drastically decreased when it administered a drug that suppresses fatty acid metabolism to lab mice with cancer. Researchers explained the decrease was because the cancer cells failed to obtain energy. The team also confirmed the existence of the yes-associated protein or YAP, which facilitates the metabolism of fatty acids, during the process of cancer metastasis. This means that if YAP or the oxidation of fatty acids can be suppressed, lymph node metastasis can be prevented.
[Soundbite] Koh Gyu-young(Director, Center for Vascular Research) : “Cancer patients suffer more because of metastasis rather than the cancer itself. The latest study is believed to lay the groundwork for a new cure for the patients.”
The latest findings are published in the online edition of the global
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