Stanford Scientists Develop Cell Receptor to Grab and Remove Cancer-Causing Molecules
The Gas6 molecule is a key cancer-causing element in the progression of pancreatic and ovarian cancer. When medical care leaves this molecule alone, it allows these cancers to grow and develop into later-stage disease. Scientists believe stopping these cancer-causing molecules is a key to halting the disease’s progression.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine developed a new receptor designed to catch and trap the Gas6 molecule. When used in conjunction with chemotherapy, the receptor attracts and captures the Gas6 molecules using its unique half-circle shape.
The researchers are calling it a “decoy receptor” as it tricks the Gas6 molecules into binding with it, thinking it is their normal receptor, Axl. Instead, the decoy prevents that bond and creates a previously unknown phenomenon.
When Gas6 does not bind to Axl, the pancreatic or ovarian cancer cells release molecules that damage cancer’s DNA, causing cancer cell death.
When the researchers gave the decoy to mice, they found the decoy removed the molecules and stopped them from activating their normal receptor. This effectively stopped the cells and disease from growing.
The researchers found that the decoy is about 350 times more effective at binding to Gas6 than Axl is.
With these findings, which the researchers will publish in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers are hoping to develop a new protocol for treatment of pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
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