Korean Team Discovers Cancer Breakthrough

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cancer researchA Korean research team, led by Yonsei University professor Yook Jong-in, made a breakthrough in discovering the mechanism by which cancer cells metastasize.

This breakthrough is expected to help scientists better understand the changing nature of cancerous cells, taking a step closer to the discovery of cures.

So far, the pathways by which cancerous cells spread have not been exactly known, posing great difficulties for scientists to come up with medicines that effectively fight their spread.

According to a team of scientists at Yonsei University College of Dentistry, the University of Michigan and Ilsan Hospital, a cancer progresses as Wnt proteins stimulate gene activations of beta-catenin (β-catenin) and Axin-2.

This activation then restrains GSK-3 proteins inside the nucleus and increases the number of "snail" proteins, leading to the spread of cancers, including breast cancer.

Professor Yook said that a test on human cells has confirmed the "Wnt-β-catenin-Axin" pathway.

His team will continue to conduct further research on the matter, as they have not yet figured out what bodily function initially forces this cancer pathway, he said.

"However, the latest detection will help scientists around the world to find ways to develop new medicines to prevent the spread of cancer by utilizing various chemical measures and studies," Yook told The Korea Times.

Yook’s discovery has been posted on the Internet edition of Nature Cell Biology, a global scientific journal under the title "A Wnt-Axin2-GSK3 Cascade Regulates Snail1 Activity in Breast Cancer Cells."

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