Health Watch - Cancer Advances: Aggressive Cancer

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This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about advances in cancer research. The body has ways of protecting itself against cancer, but sometimes these can backfire. Understanding how this works could give doctors ways to detect and fight aggressive cancers.

A growth-factor protein that occurs naturally in the body suppresses the growth of cancer cells. With prolonged exposure to this protein, cancer cells can go into overdrive so that the cancer becomes more aggressive and spreads faster. Dr. David Boothman, an oncologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says doctors can use this mechanism to anticipate which cancers are going to be aggressive so they can start treatment earlier. Researchers at UT Southwestern are studying this effect in cancer-causing genes to find ways to detect it and predict which cancers will become aggressive.

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February 2010


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