New cancer-fighting strategy: Coaxing breast cancer cells to turn into harmless fat cells

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Image: CBS

Researchers have been able to coax human breast cancer cells to turn into fat cells in a new proof-of-concept study in mice.

When you cut your finger, or when a foetus grows organs, the epithelium cells begin to look less like themselves, and more ‘fluid’ – changing into a type of stem cell called a mesenchyme and then reforming into whatever cells the body needs.

This process is called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and it’s been known for a while that cancer can use both this one and the opposite pathway called MET (mesenchymal‐to‐epithelial transition), to spread throughout the body and metastasise.

The researchers took mice implanted with an aggressive form of human breast cancer, and treated them with both a diabetic drug called rosiglitazone and a cancer treatment called trametinib.

Thanks to these drugs, when cancer cells used one of the above-mentioned transition pathways, instead of spreading they changed from cancer into fat cells – a process called adipogenesis.

What’s exciting is that these two drugs are already FDA-approved, so it should be easier to get this type of treatment into clinical trials for actual people.

Read full, original post: Scientists Successfully Turn Breast Cancer Cells Into Fat to Stop Them From Spreading

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