Cancer Gene That Causes Tumor Spread Discovered by British Scientists

A distinctive type of genetic material that helps cancer cells distribute themselves throughout the body has been found by researchers at the University of East Anglia who have published their findings in the latest issue of the journal Oncogene.

WWP2, as the “rogue gene” is known, is found in many types of the most aggressive metastatic cancer gene, the scientists said. It appears to block a natural protein in the body which inhibits the movement of cancerous cells, allowing tumors to spread.

This, though, provides the opportunity for a breakthrough, according to the researchers. By developing a treatment that targets WWP2, physicians could cause a patient’s own body to be much more effective in stopping the spread of cancer.

Andrew Chantry, the lead author of the study, said the development of such a substance would be “difficult, but not impossible,” and that the drug might be as little as a decade away, according to a statement released by the research team.

Obviating, even in some cases, the need for chemotherapy or surgical options for cancer gene treatment could help sharply reduce health insurance costs, experts say.

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