American scientists from the famous Mayo Clinic have identified a specific protein, which is a biomarker of lung cancer. With it, you can detect the disease at its earliest stages.
Lung cancer, which has taken the lives of a big number of prominent people, is one of the most difficult types of cancer diseases. This is due to the fact that the disease almost never manifests itself in the initial stages, and the characteristic symptoms are detected with time, when cancer metastasizes, and there are barely any chances to save one’s life. Thus, early diagnosis of lung cancer is even more important.
The scientists at the Mayo Clinic have found that a specific protein called ASCL1 is associated with an increased presence of the RET oncogene. This gene causes the formation of lung cancer. This discovery gives a chance of creating a new mechanism for diagnosing lung cancer and may lead to the development of fundamentally new drugs. In the near future, full clinical study of the method will be started in the USA.
According to the author of the study, Dr. George Vasmatzis, they have found an absolutely clear biomarker for detecting aggressive lung adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer in non-smokers. However, these fast-growing cancer cells can be found in the smokers’ lungs as well. The doctors obtained the data that could form the basis of a new drug. Dr. Vasmatzis says this fact is especially pleasing and exciting.
As reported in the Oncogene journal, blocking of the ASCL1 protein in case of lung cancer limits the presence of the oncogene, reduces RET levels and slows down the growth of tumors.