Inhibiting the Jagged 1 protein in mice prevents the proliferation and growth of colon and rectal tumours. What is more, this approach to the disease permits the removal of existing tumours. This is the conclusion of a study led by the Molecular Mechanisms of Cancer and Stem Cells research group from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), directed by Dr Lluís Espinosa, who is also a member of CIBERONC (the Network Centre for Biomedical Research into Cancer), in collaboration with the Pathological Anatomy and Medical Oncology Units at Hospital del Mar, and the IDIBELL-Catalan Oncology Institute. The work has been published in Nature Communications.
The researchers took tumours from patients and then implanted them into mice in order to analyse the role of this protein in cancer cell proliferation. Jagged 1 is essential for cancer cells due to its role in activating the so-called Notch cell-signalling pathway. Generally speaking, Notch inhibits cell differentiation, in other words, a cell’s ability to become a mature cell that can no longer proliferate. In the case of colorectal tumours, the activation of this signalling pathway favours their proliferation and growth. In this study, the researchers discovered that the intestinal tumours of
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