Scientists have identified a "rogue gene" that attacks and breaks down a protein that naturally occurs in the body and normally prevents cancer cells from spreading.
Blocking the gene, known as WWP2, results in higher levels of the protein, which in turn renders cancer cells dormant, researchers led by Andrew Chantry, a scientist at the University of East Anglia's School of Biological Sciences, wrote in a paper published in Nature Publishing Group's cancer journal Oncogene.
The discovery may, within the next decade, lead to a new generation of drugs to stop the most aggressive forms of cancer, including breast, brain, colon and skin tumors, the researchers said, according to Bloomberg.
Andrew Chantry, study leader from the University of East Anglia's School of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Surinder Soond, of the University of East Anglia, have discovered a rogue gene that, if blocked by proper medication, could prevent the spread of cancer.
"The late stages of cancer involve a process known as metastasis - a critical phase in the progression of the disease that cannot currently be treated or prevented," said Chantry. "The challenge now is to identify a potent drug that will get inside cancer cells and destroy the activity of the rogue gene. This is a difficult but not impossible task, made easier by the deeper understanding of the biological processes revealed in this study," DailyTech informs.