The researcher Zafira Castaño has discovered that the loss of a protein in the early phases of lung cancer favors tumor growth. This was the conclusion that the Doctor in Biochemistry reached in the dissertation which she defended at the University of Navarra.
In order to perform the study she began with prior studies from her laboratory, which demonstrated that the protein αCP4 appears in the tissue cells that coat the normal lung, and which, nevertheless, are lost in the first phases of lung cancer as well as in 67% percent of the tumors observed.
The new Doctor in Biochemistry extracted various cellular lines of different types of lung tumors and introduced a sequence of the protein αCP4 in order to observe the resulting effects. In some of the cells she demonstrated that the tumor proliferation was reduced. In particular, in malignant tumors of large cells she observed that their capacity for growth was reduced, independently of their anchoring or invasive capacity, two key characteristics for production of metastasis.
Lung cancer is one of the major causes of death, along with cardiovascular diseases, both in Europe and in the U.S., due to the fact that it is generally detected at a late stage when the disease is nearly incurable. Therefore it is necessary to develop new strategies that permit the detection of tumors of smaller size, biomarkers that make early detection possible, as well as a greater understanding of the alterations that occur. All of this in order to discover specific therapies for correcting these errors.
Elhuyar Fundazioa. May 2006.