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Catalan researchers discover a procedure that might be able to alter the malignant transformation of a cell

"This could mean a breakthrough in the fight against cancer," said the head of the study Juan Angel Recio from Barcelona-based Vall d’Hebron Research Institute.


16 September 2011 12:36 AM



Barcelona (ACN) .- Researchers from the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) have discovered a new procedure, unknown so far, which regulates cell signalling pathways. Based on the methylation of components from important biological processes, is a key mechanism within the malignant transformation a cell. Therefore, this research could have important implications in relation to the treatment of cancer. "From this point on that we could be facing a whole new era in the study of drugs that are able to modulate the biological response induced by a signalling pathway" according to Juan Ángel Recio, the head of the study published last Tuesday in the journal 'Science Signalling'.

The coordinated use of two languages that ??are used by the cell to send internal signals, in a precise and selective way is the mechanism discovered by Catalan researchers from the Vall d\u2019Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). Their findings were published last Tuesday in the journal 'Science Signalling'. This 'language' does not replace existing and already known forms of communication, but is an additional method of transmission. According to the VHIR, the finding is even more valuable because this biological transfer shows signs of being sustained and unchanged throughout the evolutionary scale.  

In this sense, this new signalling mechanism may provide an answer to the issues that the already known biological signals left unexplained in the case of cancer, where cells lose control of their growth. Thus, in some cases, the methylation could be the key when it comes to stopping the uncontrolled cell proliferation and, it is hoped, the key to redirecting the cells development.

"When this happens a few tumour cells could finally become a single node," Recio said. "So this new level of regulation, which was unknown until now, could lead to the identification of new targets and new therapeutic strategies to intervene at a stage which has never been accessed earlier\u201D he added. \u201CThis [finding] could be combined with all the weapons we have today a breakthrough in the fight against cancer and other diseases."


  • Juan Angel Recio has been the head of the study (by ACN)

  • Juan Angel Recio has been the head of the study (by ACN)