Research studies affects on immune system in quest to help prevent metastases

 Dr. Ke Yao from Dr. Zigang Dong’s Cellular and Molecular Biology lab of The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota published colon cancer research this week in the top scientific journal  PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The research team included Drs. Cong Peng, Yuwen Zhang, Tatyana A. Zykova, Mee-Hyun Lee, Sung-Young Lee, Enyu Rao, Hanyong Chen, Joohyun Ryu, Lei Wang, Yi Zhang, Ge Gao, Wei He, Wei-Ya Ma, Kangdong Liu, Ann M. Bode, Ziming Dong and Zigang Dong.

Dr. Yao and colleagues identified key molecules that can help prevent colon cancer from growing and spreading to other parts of the body.  A person’s healthy immune system is necessary for fighting off cancer and this study found the interaction between two proteins ( RSK2 and T-bet) affected the levels of a critical immune signaling molecule called interferon-gamma.

PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

“This research discovery is important because it increases our understanding of how the immune system fights against cancer,” said Dr. Ke Yao, Research Associate Professor at The Hormel Institute.

“It provides clues for developing new approaches and therapies in the quest to prevent and control cancer.”

Metastasis is a major cause of cancer-related deaths. Approximately 80% of patients with colorectal cancer develop liver metastasis and 20% develop lung metastasis.  By understanding what promotes the progression, better regulation/stopping of cancer can occur. Researchers at The Hormel Institute are studying new ways to kill or stop the growth of primary and metastatic cancer cells and are continually studying how to disrupt the steps in the process that allow cancer cells to spread.

PNAS is one of the world’s most-cited and comprehensive scientific journals and strives to publish only the highest quality scientific research.  Every paper undergoes rigorous peer review and approval by an NAS member before publication.