Finding Hope That Decorin May Be A Natural Cancer Fighter
A team of Jefferson researchers believes that a natural substance called decorin present in the outer hull of human cells may actually be a "built-in" cancer fighter.
The team led by Renato V. Iozzo, MD, Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Jefferson Medical College, thinks that decorin may hold a key to stopping the growth of tumors when a person develops cancer.
Recently, Dr. Iozzo and his colleagues reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that decorin suppresses tumor cell growth by converging with a specific protein growth factor called epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor. According to Dr. Iozzo, decorin inhibits tumor cell growth by affecting the cancer cell's life cycle.
Decorin is a naturally occurring substance in the connective tissue where, among other roles, it helps regulate cell growth by interacting with growth factors and collagen.
Dr. Iozzo and his co-investigators previously showed that decorin inhibits the growth of tumor cells. The team unraveled the genetic makeup of decorin, and then selectively engineered "transfected" colon carcinoma cells with decorin DNA. Laboratory experiments then showed that cancer cell growth was either slowed or did not occur at all.
In addition, Dr. Iozzo's team had previously discovered that decorin causes production of a protein, p21, which also can arrest cell growth.
Dr. Iozzo believes these research findings about decorin open the possibility of therapeutic interventions in human colon cancer, and possibly other related types of cancers, using naturally occurring decorin to inhibit cancer growth.