Dr. Juan Jose Marugan of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and of National Center for Translational Science Promotion (NCATS), together with his colleagues, are committed to changing this situation. With concerted efforts from other partners, they discovered a small molecule drug called metarrestin that showed inhibition of tumor metastasis in a variety of solid tumor models. Currently, they are pushing this research compound into clinical trials, especially for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. NCATS, where Dr. Marugan works, is dedicated to solving the “pain point” in translational research and improving the efficiency of translating breakthrough research into patient-benefit therapy.
Cancer metastasis – a complex and unclarified process
Cancer metastasis is a complex multi-step process. Initially, cancer cells become invasive, breaking through the barrier formed by epithelial tissue and invading into the blood vessels. After the blood circulation has moved to other parts of the body, they also need to leave the blood circulation and invade into the extravasation. Cancer metastasis does not occur in all tissues. Previous studies have shown that the environment of specific tissues in the human body is more conducive to the survival and colonization of metastatic cancer cells. The environment in which these metastatic cancer cells are suitable for survival is called pre-metastatic niches. Cancer cells that survived the pre-metastatic habitat may be lurking for a long time, and then stimulated by specific factors, the cancer cells expand and become metastatic colonization.
Since the first step in the metastasis of cancer cells is to become invasive, targeting cancer transfer has become one of the focuses of scientists. Studies have shown that intrinsic changes in a variety of tumor cells can lead to their invasive enhancement, including epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), protease production and migration capacity.
However, due to the genetic instability of metastatic cancer cells, there may be no dominant signaling pathway controlling cancer metastasis in most cancer types. Our understanding of cancer metastasis is far from complete. Dr. Marugan said, “We know some of the mechanisms involved in the process of epithelial mesenchymal transition and the basic receptors and factors associated with this process. However, this knowledge is not sufficient to provide a panoramic view for developing targeted cancer metastasis. fenbendazole stage 4 cancer