University of York scientists discover cancer treatment breakthrough

They believe they have found a way to prevent the spread of prostate cancer

Scientists from the University of York's Biology department have made a discovery which has the potential to drastically improve treatment for prostate cancer.

The department have identified a protein in bone marrow which they believe acts like a 'magnetic docking station' causing prostate cancer cells to spread and grow outside of the prostate.

By discovering this process the scientists claim that they can prevent the spread of prostate cancer by blocking the signal in the cells.

The research shows that the protein in the bone marrow locks onto parts in the stem cells in prostate cancer. These cells 'dock' in the bones, and once it has attached they grow and multiply, to form new tumours.

Professor Norman Maitland from the university's Department of Biology likened the process to a 'space rocket', which is only able to complete its mission through 'docking' using another 'space vehicle'. Without this 'docking station' the space rocket can only float around and not cause any harm.

The scientists were able to identify and block the signal sent from the 'docked' cells to the nucleus of the cancer cell, using a non toxic drug. This ultimately allows the cancer cells to survive but disables their ability to spread.

More research is being conducted into the potential of this treatment.

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