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One of the characteristics that make cancer highly fatal is that it can spread throughout the body, affecting not only the organ where it appears, but our entire body.
It is what is known in medical terms as metastasis. But now they have designed a therapy that, although at the moment it has only been tested in mice, shows excellent results for breast cancer cells.
They are the result of research carried out by scientists from the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Basel, Switzerland, published in the scientific journal Cancer Cell.
Generally, cancer cells can change their molecular properties to appropriate new ones and thus, once separated from their original group of cells, migrate to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
This process is known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition and is a key process in embryonic development.
And when it comes to cancer cells this process is the most powerful weapon to spread the disease.
But now, this group of scientists from the Swiss university have managed to use this weapon to act against the tumor cell itself, preventing it from getting into the bloodstream.
When cells change their properties to initiate their epithelial-mesenchymal transition they also become more alterable .
The scientists supplied the rodents used for the study with a combination of two drugs : one for type II diabetes, called rosiglitazone, and one inhibitor of the growth and spread of cancer cells, trametinib.
The therapy, according to the research, showed that cancer cells were converted into fat instead of continuing cell division and then metastasis.
The resulting fat cells were the same as ordinary fat cells, which can not be transferred to other tissues or move through our bodies through blood vessels .
The experts who carried out the study hope that, in the future, the therapy can be used to use it with chemotherapy treatments and prevent, on the one hand, the growth of the tumor and its spread to other organs or tissues.