Naiare Rodríguez Pérez |
Zaragoza (EFE).- Cancer is the second cause of death in Spain with more than 100,000 deaths each year. 90% of deaths from cancer are due to metastasis, an issue addressed by a scientific study from Zaragoza and Barcelona focused on the most common lung cancer and which has now managed to provide more information on the matter with a new finding.
With these “alarming” data, thirteen scientists from different centers, universities and hospitals in both cities have investigated lung adenocarcinoma and its early spread, a task that has offered new results by discovering a mechanism for the recruitment of cells that help this disease. type of cancer.
Yago Juste Lanas, one of the scientists at the Aragon Engineering Research Institute (I3A) of the University of Zaragoza, has shared in statements to EFE that the project begins at the beginning of 2017, although the research coordinator, Jordi Alcaraz, from the University of Barcelona, has already been working with this type of assisting cancer cells for much longer.
In previous studies by the researcher from the University of Barcelona, it had been discovered that the important protein SMAD3 is selectively overactivated in fibroblasts, cells that help cancer cells in patients with adenocarcinoma.
Effects of the SMAD3 protein
In the work now published, in collaboration with the I3A of the University of Zaragoza, the effects of this SMAD3 protein on the recruitment of assisting cells were examined, which would affect the subsequent dissemination of the tumor and the generation of metastases.
In lung adenocarcinomas, helper cells are able to reach the tumor much faster than in the second most common type of lung tumor, squamous cell carcinoma.
In the most advanced conditions of tumor development, these assisting cells begin to have less movement, which would favor closer interactions with said tumor, explained this researcher from Zaragoza, who is part of the team made up of Professor José Manuel García Aznar and researcher Carlos Borau Zamora.
In this sense, Juste has recognized that “this is very important, because thanks also to the work of other researchers we know that assistant cells are capable of helping tumor cells to spread and generate metastasis.”
This symbiosis between researchers has been “crucial”, “not only because it is a collective work, but also because it is interdisciplinary”.
The Zaragoza group has been focused on recreating the conditions of the cell’s microenvironment and in Barcelona cell models have been generated together with the fibroblasts of patients.
“Everything is important, from the staff at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona who have provided us with the samples to isolate cells from patients to the work carried out by the University of Barcelona to create these models.
We have been able to recreate the three-dimensional environment and see how cells behave with microfluidics devices with extracellular collagen matrices in 3D. Without these three parties, the results achieved would not have been obtained”, stressed Juste.
In this sense, the scientist from the University of Zaragoza has emphasized that, thanks to these results, it has also been discovered that there is a type of inhibitor “capable of reducing the recruitment and migration of these assistant cells”. “That drug, Trametinib, could potentially be used to try to reduce metastasis,” he said.
However, Yago Juste has indicated that, although this finding has been carried out, “it would need to be validated with more complex biological models so that it can reach hospitals, in the event that it works” in addition to needing financing “so that it can be keep working on it.”
“Job stability in public research is conspicuous by its absence, at least here in Spain.
In the future lines of work of this project, it is possible that I will not be there”, he has considered about one of the vertices of the investigation.
In this case, this search has been financed by different organizations and entities such as the State Research Agency, the European Research Council, the Spanish Association Against Cancer, the Spanish Medical Oncology Society or the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain. , among others.
In the same way, Juste has shared that his goal is that all the knowledge he has acquired, because he has been working here for many years, can be transmitted to those who are just starting out and also that “the working conditions allow continuity in the research so that the advances were faster”.
Positive data for patients
But the other side of the research has to do with providing positive data to those people who, in this case, suffer from these types of cancer.
Currently, the five-year survival probability of lung cancer of this type that has not spread throughout the body is greater than 60%, however, when it has reached other organs the chances are reduced to less than 10%. .
Regarding this issue, Yago Juste wanted to be clear: “We do not want to create false hopes with this because, although what has been discovered is something positive, we must be aware that it has to go through a series of subsequent validation stages very important and long in which it can work or not”.
“From the research community it is understood that there is a feeling that something is discovered, but it takes a long time until it becomes a reality in the clinic and for the person who is waiting for it, it may be too late”, the Zaragoza researcher has assessed. , who has stated that “the study takes a small step against cancer, but the drug has not yet been tested.”
Despite this, Juste, who has recognized that “our gaze is set there” because “in order to improve the conditions and survival of patients, it is necessary to go through these previous stages”, has been optimistic: “With the joint work of all the researchers, little by little we will achieve it”.
The full team of researchers and researchers, whose scientific article can be read in the prestigious British Journal of Cancer, is composed of Yago Juste-Lanas, Natalia Diaz-Valdivia, Alejandro Llorente, Rafael Ikemori, Alejandro Bernardo, Marselina Arshakyan, Carlos Borau , Jose Ramirez, Jose Carlos Ruffinelli, Ernest Nadal, Naomi Reguart, Jose Manuel Garcia-Aznar and Jordi Alcaraz.