Basque scientists stop colon cancer metastasis

Researchers from a consortium in the Basque region of Spain and France have developed a compound that has stopped colon cancer metastasis in mice.

The molecules work by interfering with how tumor cells stick to other cells in an organism. In this way, the molecules were effective at both freezing tumor growth and stopping the tumor from spreading to and proliferating in other organs in the body.

In many cases, colon cancer can be effectively treatable when it is caught early. But it becomes especially dangerous when it metastasizes to the liver, a deadly place for cancer to develop since all the blood in the body must pass through it. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, liver cancer is typically fatal within three to 6 months.

"In this project we first designed inhibitors to cell adhesion involved in the metastasis of murine melanomas, and then undertook the chemical synthesis of these molecules, testing their biological potential and activity," said Fernando Cossío, a professor at the University of the Basque Country and co-founder of Spanish biotech company Ikerchem S. L.

The study, which is based on previous research by scientists at the University of the Basque Country on a series of molecules found to have reduced the metastasis of melanoma in mice, were published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

The Basque research consortium is made up of the CIC bioGUNE biociences research centre, University of the Basque Country, the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, France, and the Ikerchem spinoff Enterprise. Researchers from the Rocasolano Chemical-Physical Institute, the Spanish Council for Scientific Research and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research also took part.

- here's the press release
- get the research abstract