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Australian researchers identify obscure protein responsible for advanced breast cancer

(Xinhua)    13:16, May 26, 2020

CANBERRA, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Scientists from Australia's South Australia (SA) state have discovered how an obscure protein can accelerate the development and growth of breast cancer.

In a study published on Tuesday, researchers from the Centre for Cancer Biology (CCB) at the University of South Australia (UniSA) described how aggressive cancers produce Creld2, a protein that hijacks healthy cells to promote tumour growth.

"Scientists have been aware of this protein for some time, but it has not been well-studied and until now we hadn't understood the role it plays in breast cancer. Creld2 appears to make normal, healthy cells surrounding the tumour behave abnormally, causing them to help tumours grow," Michael Samuel, co-author of the study, said in a media release.

According to Breast Cancer Network Australia, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women, accounting for about 29 percent of all new cancers in Australian women in 2019, and the second leading cause of cancer death in Australian women after lung cancer.

The team at the CCB, an alliance between the University of South Australia and SA Pathology, is now working on how to stop or destroy Creld2 with the aim of stopping breast cancers from growing and spreading around the body.

High levels of the protein are found in triple negative breast cancers, which make up 15 percent of breast cancer cases in Australia and have the poorest survival rate.

Creld2 at high levels is also found in kidney cancers and non-melanoma skin cancers, which are the the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

"The prognosis for all these cancers is not good, so if we can destroy or block this protein, we could potentially stop these cancers from growing," Samuel said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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