Promising Research on Ovarian Cancer at the University of Wisconsin

Ovarian cancer is only the 11th-most common form of cancer among women in the United States. But it accounts for the fifth-most deaths, according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. This is because ovarian cancer is often not detected until it has spread to vital organs. In order to spread their destruction, ovarian cancer cells must break free from their tumor home, travel through the fluid in the peritoneal cavity and attach to the outside of the abdominal organs.

Pamela Kreeger, an associate professor of bioengineering and her research team at the University of Wisconsin, have produced research showing how cancer cells are able to attach themselves to organs enabling metastasis. These cells produce higher levels of an adhesive protein that makes it easier for the cancer cells to attach to the outside walls of organs.

There are existing drugs used for other disorders that experiments on mice have shown can reduce the adhesive powers of these proteins making it more difficult for the cancer cells to adhere to vital organs.

Dr Kreeger’s team will conduct further tests on mice in order to set the stage for pre-clinical testing of drug treatments.

Molly Carroll, a postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the paper, stated that “treatment for ovarian cancer has not changed in the past 20 years. Hopefully through the development of such maintenance therapies, we can prevent the establishment of new tumor metastases.”

The study, “Alternatively Activated Macrophages Upregulate Mesothelial Expression of P-selectin to Enhance Adhesion of Ovarian Cancer Cells,” was published on the website of the journal Cancer Research. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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