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Two therapeutic targets in a child cancer are identified by Catalan researchers

The Barcelona-based Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) has identified two proteins that block the metastasis of rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that represents 8% of this sort of illness in children. These two proteins are related to cellular proliferation and growth as well as having the capacity to migrate to other organs. The study opens the door to the development of new treatments targeting these two proteins. The study was funded by the foundation of the Catalan Public TV Broadcaster and it has been published in the British Journal of Cancer (BJC).

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11 December 2012 08:37 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Barcelona-based Vall d\u2019Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) has identified two proteins that block the metastasis of rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that represents 8% of this sort of illness in children. These two proteins \u2013 integrina -á2 and N-cadherina \u2013 are related to cellular proliferation and growth as well as having the capacity to migrate to other organs. The study opens the door to the development of new treatments targeting these two proteins. The study was funded by the foundation of the Catalan Public TV Broadcaster and it has been published in the British Journal of Cancer (BJC).


The laboratory of Translational Research in Paediatric Cancer, at the Vall d\u2019Hebroan Research Institute (VHIR), has made a step forwards in the knowledge of the Notch Pathway (a signalling pathway) regarding the aggressiveness, invading capacity and metastasis of rhabdomyosarcomas. A year and a half ago, this research group had already identified the implication of the Notch Pathway as a signalling pathway in the metastasis of rhabdomyosarcomas.

Now, the last study identifies two proteins that are \u201Cclosely related with the adhesion of tumour cells, the speed that this can reach and its invasive capacity for germinating in other organs. Inhibiting these proteins could slow down or block the metastasis process, so then, two new therapeutic targets could be considered\u201D, stated Josep Roma, one of the members of the VHIR research group. Therefore the study has identified two new therapeutic targets in order to develop further treatments to slow down or block the metastasis process of this type of cancer.

The study was carried out using monoclonal antibodies that block the action of these proteins. This fact has been translated into a decrease in the \u2018in vitro\u2019 invasive capacity of the tumour cells. Therefore, once the results have been validated through the required further studies, its therapeutic application could be in place quite soon.

Child cancer affects around 900 children each year in Spain. 8% of them have rhabdomyosarcomas. They are malign tumours that might appear in a wide variety of locations. Depending on where they appear they can be more or less aggressive and with more or less invasion capacity. In the best case scenarios, the recovery rate is between 80% and 90%. However, if the disease is not diagnosed until an advanced stage or there is a metastasis process, the rate significantly decreases.

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  • The VHIR team working on Notch Pathway (by VHIR / ACN)

  • The VHIR team working on Notch Pathway (by VHIR / ACN)