Scientists Discover Potential Therapeutic Target for Colon Cancer

All of the types of cancer are on the rise, and colon cancer seems to be growing the fastest lately. Colorectal cancer has gone from a disease that we didn’t know much about, to a full fledged attack on man kind, with new strains and mutations appearing all the time. Colon cancer is growing with a vengeance and it is all that scientists and researchers can do to keep up with this growth surge. One good thing about colon cancer growing is that more research is constantly being done on the subject, and the more we find out about this type of cancer, the more we can protect ourselves from ever getting the deadly disease.

Colon cancer seems to be the one type of cancer that is easier to prevent or stop, which is a good thing since it is also the fastest growing kind of cancer right now. This may be because it spreads mainly through polyps and tumors which can be more easily caught and removed. One of the more recent discoveries scientists have made about colon cancer is a potential therapeutic target for a drug resistant type of colon cancer. This is good news, because right now, all we really have to fight cancer with is surgery and drugs, and we often need both of these to fight against cancer.

EGFR, which are drugs that target the epidermal growth factor receptor are what we would normally use to battle cancer, but unfortunately, these drugs do not seem to work against colon cancer, so they had to find another way to block colon cancer. A recent study has discovered that if they go at it from a slightly different angle, we will be able to fight off colon cancer with a vengeance.

The scientists who conducted the research found that if they skipped the EGFR inhibitors and instead targeted the closely related receptor ERB3, and genetically removed it, the colon cancer cells died off rather quickly. These studies were done on mice and human colon cancer cell lines. This new cancer fighting technique is not being used to prevent colon cancer yet though, because scientists still have to discover a way to pharmacologically target the ERB3 receptors that will work the same way that genetically removing them has.

Dr. David Threadgill, a professor and the director of the ERB3 research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine is currently working on creating and testing a pharmacologic inhibitor that will achieve the same results as they already saw through genetics. Tests are already being run, and soon we will have the treatment in our hospitals. You can read more about this important study on blocking colon cancer in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

In the meantime, if you think you may be at risk for getting colon cancer, please do not hesitate to call your doctor and book a colonoscopy. I know it can be an unpleasant procedure, but they usually put you out for them now, so a lot of the unpleasantness is avoided. One colonoscopy could save your life, because colon cancer is very survivable if caught early.