England (Commonwealth Union) – The detection and understanding of properties and mechanics of cells has been a key focus among researchers in recent years. The activity of proteins and specific biomarkers enhanced by analytical technologies have given biotechnologists the opportunity to manipulate these components to develop new therapies and diagnostic techniques.
Researchers analyzing the mechanics of the early stages of lung cancer identified a possible new therapy that may also assist in diagnosing the disease.
Levels of the TLR2 protein of tumors demonstrated the ability to predict a patient’s survival after lung cancer diagnosis according to a study. A drug compound triggering TLR2 was tested in mice and indicated a lowering of tumor growth in the early stages of the disease.
The 5-year survival rate from late-stage lung cancer is usually 6%, compared with 50% when diagnosed earlier, and experts stated the breakthrough may assist in detecting the disease quicker, enhancing patient outcomes.
University of Edinburgh scientists found that TLR2 assists in controlling parts of the body’s defense mechanisms when cancerous mutations take place in cells.
A protein associated with senescence, where cells halt growth and secrete a variety of chemicals and other proteins which collectively take roles as warning signals and defenses against cancer. Senescent cells are found in early lung cancers, but not in late-stage cancers, signaling that senescence can block cancer progression.
The research team stated that further studies with clinical trials are required to verify if the drug is effective for humans.
Dr Fraser Millar, University of Edinburgh’s Clinical Lecturer in Respiratory Medicine said: “I think these results are really exciting. Very little is known about the biology of early lung cancer and by understanding this process more we have identified a possible new treatment for this devastating disease. This project highlights the value of basic science research and how this can be translated into new treatments for patients.”