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eat me protein

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Cancer patients the world over take heart. We  may be on the cusp of a seminal breakthrough in cancer research and treatment. A few days ago, researchers from Stanford University reported that they have discovered a protein in abundance, on the surface of cancer cells. What is remarkable about this protein (calreticulin) is that it signals the immune system to engulf them and destroy them (hence the name “eat me” cells). But cancer cells also have a second molecule, CD47, which signals “don’t eat me”. Macrophages do not destroy cancer cells because CD47 counteracts Calreticulin.

In normal cells, Calreticulin is expressed when the cell is damaged, thus allowing the macrophages  to clean them up.

The same researchers found in a previous study that CD47 antibodies were very effective in curing leukemia and other cancers induced in mice, without affecting normal cells (ie., no side effects)!!

The thinking here is that by blocking the CD47, the eat me signal is stronger in the cancer cells, allowing the macrophages to clean up.

Key developments in cell biology related to this research can be found in this article

Apopstosis:eating sensibly

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by asterix98

December 27, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Posted in cancer, Oncology

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