Prostate cancer cells modify the behavior of other cells encompassing them, which also include the normal cells, by ‘ejecting out’ a protein from their nucleus, as per the latest research conducted at the University of Bradford. The tiny bits of protein are taken up by the additional cells, prompting betterment that promotes tumor growth and the researchers believe that it helps cancer hide from the body’s immune system.
The method has been captured for the first time on video by researchers at the University of Surrey and has been published in the Scientific Reports. The Lead researcher has commented that for tumors to sustain, grow bigger and spread they require to control the behavior of cancer cells and the normal cells encompassing them and we’ve found a method by which they do this. By blocking this process, it could be a likely target for future cancer therapy.
What Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the spread of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. A big number of prostate tumors are slow-growing however, some grow relatively quickly. The cancer cells may increase from the prostate to other areas of the body, especially the bones and lymph nodes. The symptoms may be marked by difficulty while urinating, blood in the urine or pain in the pelvis, back, or when urinating.
EN2 Protein Impacting Different Types Of Cancer Cells
EN2 protein is existing in the cell membrane and within macrovesicles that can be hidden from the cell and held up by others. When brought up by normal cells from the stroma EN2 influences the expression of MX2 (MxB), a protein which has a key role in the inherent immune response to viruses.
The protein focused is called the EN2 protein which has a role in the early evolution of the brain but has also been observed at high levels in various types of cancer cells. The experts conducted the study to observe EN2 activity in human prostate cancer cells, normal prostate cells and bladder cancer, melanoma, and leukemia cells. It was found that both cancer and normal cells took up the protein from other cells.
Time Lapse Photography
Time-Lapse photography of prostate cancer cells was done wherein pictures were taken every five minutes for 24 hours. The video showed that the cells eject small parts of themselves holding the green florescent protein that is then taken up by otherwise dormant cancer cells, prompting them to reactivate, changing shape or fusing.
Cell Fusion Unusual In Prostate Cancer
Experts have said that cell fusion in cancer is almost unusual and is linked with very destructive disease. It can lead to new and variable hybrid cells that are often better at spreading to different sites and surviving chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Molecular analysis of the normal prostate cells showed that take-up of EN2 made them reveal a gene called MX2 that produces an anti-viral reply.
It is been believed that the cancer is trying to minimize the chances of the cells around it being infected by a virus, to avoid investigation by the immune system. This could weaken the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatments, which try to use viruses to kill cancer by exciting the immune system to attack it.
The experts were also amazed to find the EN2 protein in the cell membrane as well as in the nucleus which is quite unusual for this type of protein. This indicates blocking its action, and the team was able to identify that the part of the protein that was accessible at the cell surface to be a potential target for treatment.
The work has been followed on from earlier studies at Surrey where detection of EN2 in urine, after discharge from prostate cancer cells, was shown to be a robust diagnostic biomarker of prostate cancer.
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