Pathway “Hedgehog” may hold the key anti-cancer therapy

Colon cancer often begins in one form is curable when confined to the intestinal wall, but in frequent cases, may develop incurable metastatic stage. A team of researchers based in Geneva, has discovered the essential role of HH-GLI in the progression of colon cancer in these stages and incurable. HH-GLI signaling pathway is used by cells to communicate with each other, often used to determine the growth and survival position.The use of genetic or pharmacological methods to block HH-GLI activity also prevents cancer stem cell self-renewal. Using a novel in vivo assay to test the involvement of cancer stem cells in a tumor grows, the research team has demonstrated the essential role of this path for the maintenance and survival of cancer stem cells.

This work firmly establishes the critical action of HH-GLI in human colon cancer cells, which provides the platform for future preclinical and clinical work. Ruiz i Altaba concluded. The fact that the blockade of HH-GLI for a relatively short period was sufficient to remove the tumor and prevent recurrence, without adversely affecting the health of the mouse opens the possibility for the use of a therapeutic window to eradicate the tumor without significant side effects.

Recidivism is a major problem in cancer treatment. Even after a patient has shown an apparent complete recovery of the primary tumor, recurrence at sites near and distal to a poor prognosis, said Ruiz i Altaba. Although the regained control of the mouse, we noted that tumors began to reappear in all cases except those treated with cyclopamine for a short period of time after the disappearance of the tumor. treated mice were kept for one year after treatment and remained healthy and cancer free

Previous studies refer to the possible role of HH-GLI in colon cancer, but this was contradicted by other studies, so his involvement was never very clear, said lead researcher Professor Ariel Ruiz i Altaba, University of Geneva. In this study we demonstrated that HH-GLI is essential for the development and growth of colon cancer. Research shows the active presence of HH-GLI signaling in colonic epithelial cells.

Moreover, we find that metastatic tumors are based on this path of sustained growth.