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Cancer cure may be available within 5 years
March 09, 2009 15:19 IST
Researchers in London [Images] have discovered a way to stop cancer cells from spreading, which may prevent the spread of the disease in about 90 per cent patients.
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, a constituent college of the University of London, say that rather than concentrating on stopping the formation on tumours, they focused on singling out the enzyme that allows cancer to spread throughout the body.
The researchers say that their groundbreaking study led to the discovery that an enzyme called LOX is crucial in promoting the spread of the disease throughout a patient's body.
Lead researcher Dr Janine Erler called her team's discovery "the crucial missing piece in the jigsaw we have been searching for".
She claimed that her team was the first to have identified any such key enzyme.
"This discovery provides real hope that we can develop a drug to fight it. If we can interrupt the body's ability to prepare new locations for the cancer to spread to, we can prevent metastasis," the Daily Express quoted her as saying.
While studying breast cancer in mice, Janine's team has found that in the absence of the LOX enzyme, full name lysyl oxidase, new environments in the body would be too hostile for the cancer to grow.
The research group, which includes scientists from Stanford University, are confident that it will apply to humans and other cancer types.
Janine and her colleagues now plan to use their findings to develop drugs that can block this enzyme.
She hopes that this discovery will lead to a potential new treatment for cancer within five years.