ICR Logo A possibly unique means to treat bowel cancer has been unfolded in the following article. Researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) have introduced a new drug target for advanced bowel cancer. This drug target is apparently capable of detecting tumors that will respond to a medication already used in other cancers.

The enzyme lysyl oxidase (LOX) is believed to be strongly involved in the spread of breast cancer and also metastasis of other cancers. During the research, experts noted high levels of increased cell growth in tumor cells with high levels of LOX. Low levels of LOX, on the other hand, seemingly limited cell growth. It was observed that LOX activates the SRC molecule to enhance cancer growth and spread. The drug dasatinib blocking SRC function reportedly declines bowel cancer cell growth by restricting the effects of LOX.

“Our findings have revealed two potential new avenues for combating advanced bowel cancer – either with existing SRC inhibitor treatments or with drugs currently being developed to target LOX,” elucidated Dr Janine Erle. “We are looking forward to future clinical trials to see whether these drugs could benefit patients with advanced bowel cancer, who currently have few treatment options.”

Investigators also noted that a test for levels of LOX expression can identify cancers whose SRC molecules are highly activated. Hence, patients who are able to benefit from treatment with dasatinib can be supposedly distinguished. It is anticipated that controlling the enzyme LOX can create an impact on colorectal cancer cell growth. The research findings can possibly help in designing novel treatments against bowel cancer.

The research is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.