Christiana Care Breast Center nurse awarded 2010 Pearl Moore Making a Difference Award from ONS
December 05, 2015
Dr. Martin says more studies are needed to determine if tau is a clear predictor of metastasis. Given the complex nature of tumors, there most likely are other factors involved in causing cancers to spread, he says.
"Metastasis is a very major concern for people diagnosed with cancer, and the discovery of these microtentacles and the role that tau plays in their formation is a very exciting development that holds great promise for developing new drugs," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., acting president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore, has filed patents on the microtentacle discoveries of Dr. Martin's lab group and is looking to partner with biopharmaceutical companies on new drug development. The researchers identified these cell extensions while they were studying the effects of two drugs that prevent cell division, or mitosis. Most chemotherapy drugs target cell division, aiming to slow or stop tumor growth.
Dr. Martin says his team found that a popular chemotherapy drug, taxol, actually causes cancer cell microtentacles to grow longer and allows tumor cells to reattach faster, which may have important treatment implications for breast cancer patients. Their studies are continuing.
"We think more research is needed into how chemotherapies that slow down cell division affect metastasis. The timing of giving these drugs can be particularly important. If you treat people with taxol before surgery to shrink the primary tumor, levels of circulating tumor cells go up 1,000 to 10,000 fold, potentially increasing metastasis," he adds.
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center