Taming Forces That Block Cancer Tx
The spread of cancer cells leads to what is called "solid stress," a phenomenon that can hinder the effectiveness of anticancer treatments. Now a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has identified factors that contribute to solid stress in tumors an discovered a way to lessen it. The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A release from the hospital quotes lead author Rakesh Jain, PhD as saying, "Traditionally cancer research has focused on cancer cells and, more recently, on the biochemical microenvironment of tumors. Our work shows that the physical or mechanical microenvironment plays an equally important role in tumor progression and treatment resistance."
Jain and his colleagues have been forerunners in research about the impact of elevated fluid pressures that make it harder for drugs to penetrate and permeate tumors. Their earlier work showed that fluid pressures are relieved when "antiangiogenesis" drugs – medications that prevent the growth of new blood vessels -- normalize the abnormal blood vessels typical of solid tumors. The team found that this approach improves the effectiveness of other anticancer therapies but that the technique won't work if vessels have been "squeezed shut by solid stress in surrounding tissues."