Key Protein Could Put Brakes on Cancer's Blood Supply

MONDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers report they stopped the growth of blood vessels that are crucial to tumor survival by lowering the level of a protein found in brain cells.

The protein, known as delta-catenin, is known for its effects on the growth of the brain cells called neurons, but is also produced by cells in human blood vessels. Researchers found that they could disrupt the development of blood vessels that are connected to tumors and wounds by diminishing levels of the protein.

The researchers, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, noted that the process did not disrupt the normal development of blood vessels. Because of this, manipulation of the protein could help fight cancer, they believe.

The study findings were published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: Rockefeller University Press, news release, Jan. 4, 2010