martedì 9 settembre 2014

Italian scientists discover cells that help cancer spread

In lung cancer research led by Irccs Multimedica

(ANSA) - Milan, September 9 - A number of cells of the immune system help cancer spread, according to a study released Tuesday by a group of Italian researchers led by Douglas Noona and Adriana Albini from oncological institute Irccs Multimedica based in Sesto San Giovanni, Milan. The research was carried our together with the universities of Insubria and Messina and Varese's Ospedale di Circolo and published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In the study, which was funded by the Italian association for cancer research (Airc), scientists found a specific category of cells called 'Tink', which are part of the natural killer (NK) cells critical to the immune system. Their role is to recognize tumors and eliminate them but the study found that sometimes tumors and their microenvironments are able to "reprogram these cells so they can spread more easily, inducing the body to produce new blood vessels which nourish cancer and help it spread.

The research has so far focused on lung cancer, although studies are now being carried out also on cancer that develops in the tissue of the colon, breast cancer and multiple myeloma. The aim of scientists is to eventually "re-educate these natural killers, in order to restore their activity in fighting tumors with studies to evaluate how the combination of chemotherapy and natural substances could contribute to restore their regular function", said Albini. 

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