Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Despite advances in treatments, the most common forms of colon cancer often become resistant to treatment, making it necessary to find new treatments to combat the disease. Recently, researchers have unearthed a protein that could turn normal colon cells into cancer stem cells. This discovery could lead to the development of a new target to fight colon cancer.
The protein, called SHP-2, is found in all normal cells, but its expression is increased in cancer stem cells. It works by activating pathways that regulate cell migration and stem cell renewal, allowing cancer stem cells to survive and divide. In its absence, stem cell differentiation and migration are disrupted, making it harder for colon cancer to spread.
When SHP-2 is activated in healthy cells, it can turn those cells into cancer stem cells. This could potentially allow cancer to spread more quickly, and to turn cancer treatments more difficult in some cases.
Researchers have now identified the molecular pathways that regulate SHP-2 and its production in colon cancer cells. By targeting these pathways, it might be possible to disrupt SHP-2 activity, thus stopping cancer cells from growing and spreading. This could help give better control over the growth of colon cancer cells and potentially lead to more effective treatments.
In addition to providing a target for fighting colon cancer, this research could have implications for other cancers as well. Many different types of cancer share similar pathways and signaling molecules, so these pathways could potentially be disrupted in other types of cancer as well.
Further research is needed to better understand these pathways, and to develop treatments that target them. If successful, this could lead to promising new treatments for colon cancer, and potentially other types of cancer as well.