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Researchers Decode Carcinogenic Role of Protein

Update Date: Sep 02, 2014 08:37 AM EDT

The risk of human protein EGFR controlling cell growth, doesn't depend on its presence within the tumor cell but rather from its activity in the cells adjacent to the tumor, a new study has found. 

EGFR has mutated in case of many cancer cells or exists in excessive numbers and due to this reason, it serves as a point of attack for target-oriented therapies. The protein can play a significant role in stimulating the tumor in the macrophages (immune cells) of the liver during the formation of the dangerous liver carcinoma. 

Up until now, the tumor promoting role of EGFR was only linked with its expression directly in the tumor cells. However, the new study discovered that EGFR plays a more decisive role in the macrophages of the liver with respect to the growth of the liver cell carcinoma than previously thought. 

"In this study we were able to prove that the inhibition of EGFR has a tumour inhibiting effect on the macrophages and not its inhibition on the tumour cell itself", explained Maria Sibilia, Manager of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna, in the press release. 

This is the first time when a study has proven the tumor-promoting mechanism for EGFR in no-tumor cells, which could lead to more effective and precise treatment strategies.

The study is published in the journal Nature Cell Biology. 

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