Image Credit: Louisa Howard
Mayo Clinic researchers have identified the gene responsible for the development and spread of non-small cell lung cancer. According to researchers, this type of cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The lung cancer gene, matrix metalloproteinase-10 (MMP-10), is used by cancer stem-like cells to produce cancer cells that are insusceptible to current treatments. Enzymes produced by this gene work to degrade cells and tissues that surround tumors, resulting in cancer metastasis.
According to senior investigator Alan Fields, "Our data provides evidence that MMP-10 plays a dual role in cancer. It stimulates the growth of cancer stem cells and stimulates their metastatic potential. MMP-10 acts to keep these cancer stem cells healthy and self renewing, which also helps explain why these cells escape conventional chemotherapy that might destroy the rest of the tumor." The researchers also suspect that MMP-10 may be the reason for the survival of other human cancer stem cells including those associated with colorectal, melanoma, breast, renal, and prostate cancers.
Learn more about this study, see: