Dec 212008
 

Scientists have stumbled on a vital breakthrough in their fight against cancer – they can cripple its progression by switching off a particular molecule.

Metastasis is the ability of cancer cells to proliferate from a primary site and form tumours at distant sites, a complex process enabled by cell motility and invasion.

Crucial to our understanding of the process is identification of the molecules and characterisation of the mechanisms that regulate such motility, which were poorly understood.

Now, a team of researchers led by Marco Falasca at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry has shown not only enzyme phospholipase Cy1 (PLCy1) plays a crucial role in metastasis formation, but switching it off reverses metastasis.

The team investigated the role of PLCy1 in cell invasion and metastasis using different approaches to modulate its expression in highly invasive cancer cell lines, said a London release.

Their results showed that PLCy1 is required for breast cancer cell invasion and activation of the protein Rac1. They revealed a functional link between PLCy1 and Rac1 that provides insight into processes regulating cell invasion.

Falasca, a professor explained that “consistent with these data we detected an increase in PLCy1 expression in metastases compared to primary tumours in breast cancer patients.”

“Therefore PLCy1 is critical for metastasis formation, and development and inhibition of this enzyme has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of metastasis dissemination.”

“This is an exciting discovery. He has shown that turning off this molecule prevents metastasis. The simple fact is that if you stop metastasis, you stop cancer from killing people. We now need to focus on developing drugs that can block PLCy1,” he said. —Online

Avoid refined carbohydrates, chocolates to prevent pimples: Shun refined carbohydrates and chocolates if you really want to avoid pimples, according to a new study conducted in Australia.

The first randomised controlled trial on diet and acne in more than 40 years has established that a protein-based, low GI (glycemic index) diet could have a dramatic effect on acne symptoms.

GI is a measure for calculating the glucose level of the blood. A low GI diet contains foods that have a low glucose level.

“Diet has long been thought to be the cause of acne, with chocolate most often named as a culprit, but I was surprised how little scientific research had been done in this area,” said Robyn Smith, who studied the affect of diet on acne for her doctoral thesis.

“My research found that a low GI diet significantly reduced acne lesion counts when compared with the conventional high carb, high GI Western diet.

“A diet designed to fight acne should contain minimally refined carbohydrate-based foods and include a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats, fish and seafood,” she said.

Smith worked with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Hospital’s staff from the department of dermatology on the trial, which involved 43 teenage boys following two different diets over 12 weeks, said an RMIT release.

One group followed the typical western teen diet of refined and highly processed carbohydrate foods while the other group ate a more natural diet higher in protein and low GI foods such as whole grain bread, pasta and legumes.

“Those on the low GI diet reduced facial acne by 50 per cent, and showed improvements in their self-esteem and overall wellbeing,” Smith said.

These findings have been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The News, 21st December, 2008

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