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RI-MUHC researchers discover new path to stop the spread of cancer

Findings will immediately improve the lives of patients with colon metastasis liver cancer and could lead to more personalized treatment options

Oct 18, 2016

Investigators from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), and the Institute of Cancer Research, London (UK), have discovered that some cancer cells can draw blood from existing mature blood vessels allowing them to continue to spread. These findings, published in the journal Nature Medicine, will immediately improve the lives and prognosis of patients with colon cancer, which has metastasized to the liver. The team of researchers is continuing its efforts to better understand the mechanisms behind this discovery in order to develop new targeted therapies aimed at stopping the cancer from spreading.

Cancers are often managed by surgical removal of the tumour. However, as many as half the patients who undergo this procedure to treat colon cancer will develop liver metastasis. Metastasis occurs when cancer cells break away from the primary tumour site and enter the bloodstream, spreading to other parts of the body. It is usually this recurrence of cancer that is fatal for patients. Read more