Israeli researchers have discovered potential new treatments for the frequently fatal pancreatic cancer in a new study that was published on Wednesday in the esteemed journal Nature.
The study was carried out in cooperation with scientists and medical professionals from the Cold Spring Harbor Labs research facility, Cornell University in the United States, Toronto University in Canada, and the Sheba Medical Center and Bar-Ilan Universities in Israel.
As part of the study, researchers compared 400 non-metastatic pancreatic tumor growths to 400 metastatic growth cells, and they discovered that the growths’ development into metastases was caused by modifications in RNA molecule processing in the cell rather than genetic changes in the DNA.
Pancreatic cancer has very limited treatment options and is therefore regarded as the most deadly type of cancer. Metastatic growths are the primary cause of death from pancreatic cancer.
The team discovered that RBFOX2, a crucial protein that regulates RNA processing, degrades and vanishes in metastatic cells. Numerous genes produce RNA and proteins differently as a result of the loss of RBFOX2, which increases the cells’ invasiveness.
The researchers showed that the development of pancreatic cancer metastases could be delayed by using a drug that inhibits the activity of this family of genes, which is presently employed to treat organ transplant recipients.
Additionally, scientists were able to stop the cancer cells’ capacity for invasion by genetically interfering with the processing of RNA in RBFOX2’s target cells.
When these cells were extracted from patients’ bodies and transplanted into mice, metastases didn’t develop.
According to Prof. Karni, “The study’s findings explainfor the first time the molecular basis (which isn not genetic) for the transformation of cancer cells into invasive pancreatic cells and propose 2 ways of treatment: a known drug which inhibits a pathway affected by RBFOX2, or RNA based therapy that intervenes in this RNA process affected by the RBFOX2 to treat invasive pancreatic cancer.”