American scientists recently published a research report in the journal PLoS One, saying that they used chaperone protein as a new marker of cancer cells in the blood to more clearly observe the spread of cancer. By using this new marker, scientists can detect more cancer cells in the blood. This process, called liquid biopsy, can help patients with breast cancer and lung cancer better monitor their diseases.
Cancer cells need a lot of protein to survive and spread in the body. Chaperone complexes fold proteins into functional three-dimensional shapes. Without this complex, the important proteins needed by cancer cells cannot be formed. Studies have shown that all cells contain chaperone complex, but its content in cancer cells is significantly higher.
Dr. Annette Halliday, head of the cancer research department at the University of Central Florida School of medicine, identified chaperone complexes as an important indicator of cancer severity, and developed nanoparticle based therapies, that is, to find and destroy chaperone complexes in cancer cells. Without this protein folding mechanism, cancer cells cannot survive.
Researchers said that by using chaperone complexes to detect cancer cells in the blood, we can get a warning that cancer may be spreading.
The identification of cancer cell markers in blood is usually based on the epithelial characteristics of body surface cells produced by cancer. However, this marker for detecting cancer cells in blood is quite”common”, and it provides little information about cancer itself. Cancer cells entering the blood can come from any part of the tumor and can only survive for a short time. Therefore, the use of markers such as chaperone complexes to identify dangerous cancer cells in the blood can remind doctors that patients relapse or treatment is ineffective.
The study first used the blood and tissues of treated patients with metastatic breast cancer to test whether chaperone protein complexes can better identify cancer cells in the blood than traditional markers. Then, the researchers tested this idea with the blood of lung cancer patients and found that more lung cancer cells could be detected using chaperone complexes than using standard liquid biopsy methods.