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  • Researchers report that some early-stage cancer cells activate genes that help them hide from the body’s immune response.
  • They say identifying this increase in gene expression in cancer cells could lead to new pathways for early diagnosis and future treatment of colon cancer.
  • But experts say more research is needed to confirm these findings and explore new potential treatments and treatments.

Early-stage colon cancer cells use special strategies to evade the body’s natural immune response and grow into larger tumors, researchers say. new research He received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

At the most basic level, cancer occurs when cell division goes out of control and cells grow out of control.

One of the body’s immune system’s jobs is to recognize these abnormal cells and remove them before they multiply too much.

Therefore, identifying where the immune system is weakened when dealing with cancer cells is one of the most important areas of research for future cancer treatments and is a goal for the next generation of cancer drugs. One.

Researchers looked at colon cancer tumors transplanted into mice and found that early-stage cancer cells produced and activated a gene called SOX17. This gene helps hide these cells from the immune system.

Additionally, activation of SOX17 ensures that cells produce fewer molecules called MHC proteins, which are proteins that ensure that cancer-associated antigens are recognized by the immune system, researchers say. said. SOX17 can also stop the production of important receptors that tell the immune system to tell these cancer cells to self-destruct.

“Activating the SOX17 program during the early stages of colorectal cancer formation is an important step in protecting pre-cancerous cells from the immune system. Inhibiting the SOX17 program could improve the colon of patients who are particularly susceptible to developing colonic polyps. “We may be able to better prevent this.” Dr. Omer YilmazStudy author and researcher, MIT Associate Professor of Biology and member of the MIT Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, said: press release.

Scientists also found that as these colon cancer cells grow into larger tumors and metastasize to other organs, SOX17 expression decreases.

“This is a very important study because it provides insight into what triggers the development of early colon cancer and the importance of the immune system’s protective effects,” he said. Dr. Anton Bilchika surgical oncologist and medical director and director of the gastrointestinal-hepatobiliary program at Providence St. John’s Cancer Institute in California.

“Cancer research is rapidly evolving, and our understanding of what causes cancer cells to form and grow is increasing,” said Bilchik, who was not involved in the study. Today’s medical news. “This is especially important because most cancers have no clear cause and cancer remains a cause.” second most common cause This research provides not only the pathogenesis of cancer but also potential targets for diagnosis and treatment. ”

This study looked specifically at colon cancer cells and may not be generalizable to all cancers, including the many mechanisms of action of uncontrolled cell division.

In some cases, such as leukemia, cancer does not necessarily form a tumor.

However, this latest study furthers our knowledge of cancer cell immune evasion and its associations. cancer immunotherapy, currently used as a target for many cancer treatments. Further insights into the interactions between the immune system and cancer may help develop new treatments for cancer in the future. This may include helping the immune system eliminate previously hidden cancer cells themselves.

“The current state of cancer research is rapidly evolving with an emphasis on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression,” he said. Dr. Wael Herba hematologist and medical oncologist at MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in California, and vice president of medical affairs at Syneos Health.

“Studies like this contribute to our knowledge by identifying new biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets, broadening our understanding of cancer, and opening new avenues for treatment.” said Herb, who was not involved. Today’s medical news.

Experts say the study could help more immediately diagnose colon cancer early.

“The diagnostic implications are significant,” Herb said. “By identifying upregulation of SOX17 as a marker for early colorectal cancer, this study may lead to improved screening methods. It could help identify patients at risk.”

Developing a treatment will likely take longer than diagnosing it, but experts said this study is an important step in that process.

“These findings suggest new therapeutic targets,” Harb said. “By understanding how SOX17 contributes to immune evasion, researchers can develop strategies to counter this mechanism, potentially leading to treatments that enhance the immune system’s ability to target cancer cells. There is a sex.”

The researchers noted that because of the role of the SOX17 gene, it may be difficult to target for drug treatment. The next step is to find drugs that can interfere with the mechanisms by which SOX17 interacts.

“There are many reasons why immune cells are less effective at controlling tumors.” Dr. Daniel Landauan oncologist and hematologist at the Mesothelioma Center at, was not involved in the study.

“I have often told my patients that our immune system is best at destroying things that originate outside the body,” Dr. Landau said. Today’s medical news. “We know that immune cells recognize antigens, and if the antigen is “foreign,” they will attack. Given that cancer cells originate within the body, immune cells do not recognize them as foreign. ”

“This is a very new discovery and confirmatory studies need to be completed, but given the evolution of cancer treatments, we will need further ways to support the immune system. If SOX 17 inhibitors can be developed, , possibly acting similarly to PD1/PDL1 inhibitors. [for other cancer treatment] It is now widely used,” he added.

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