The Body’s ‘Ibuprofen’
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Ibuprofen; it’s an anti-inflammatory drug that we take to reduce our fever, to relief our pain, and to reduce our swelling. A new study shows that ibuprofen can not only be found in the pharmacy, but in our own bodies!
Cancer researchers have been aware that there are genetic mutations in cancer, but also that characteristics of the tissue surrounding cancer can promote or suppress tumor growth. One characteristic is inflammation. Most cancer will attach to inflamed tissue, thus many cancers have developed ways to create it.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have reported that the protein SPARC (Secreted Protein Acidic and Rich in Cysteine) acts as an anti-inflammatory drug, attempting to heal inflamed tissues caused by tumors. Also, they showed that cancer, bladder cancer, have developed ways to turn off SPARC production, causing growth and metastasis specifically in the lung where bladder cancer is fatal.
"In fact, we show the effects of SPARC go beyond even this anti-inflammatory role. Additionally, the protein is involved in disallowing migrating cancer cells from attaching at possible metastasis sites and stopping the production of new blood vessels needed to feed tumor tissue," senior study author’s, Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, was quoted as saying.
First, the study examined SPARC levels in human bladder cancer samples. They found that the tumor and the surrounding tissue made SPARC in less aggressive cancers. In more aggressive cancers, they noticed that the surrounding tissue made SPARC, but the tumor itself had suppressed it. Additionally, more SPARC was found to be associated with prolonged survival.
The study was aimed at examining previous work that found high SPARC in aggressive tumors, therefore, suggested a tumor promoting role for the protein. They thought that the surrounding healthy tissue may respond to a growing tumor by increasing SPARC production. So, researchers believed that high SPARC can be associated with aggressive tumors when the tumor is examined. Healthy tissue will turn up SPARC to mute tumors and aggressive cancers will turn down SPARC to promote tumors.
Then researchers examined animal models without the ability to manufacture SPARC. Bladder cancer developed more quickly in these models and the cancer was more likely to travel to the lung tissue. When they added SPARC to these models, tumor growth and metastasis was reduced.
"This is a comprehensive portrait of SPARC function using human and murine bladder cancer as a model, and the first to clearly distinguish between the role of SPARC generated in the tumor and the role of the protein generated in the surrounding tissue. We hope this provides the rational basis for further exploring manipulation of SPARC as a therapeutic intervention,” Dr. Theodorescu concluded.
SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Investigation, January 2013