February 14, 2017- How Cancer Tumors Exploit Neuronal Signals
A new paper by neuroscientists at Stanford University reviews how tumors exploit neuronal signals. It has been noted that cancer cells not only grow near nerves, but also respond to chemical signals neurons secrete. Cancer cells are known for their ability to use the body for their own growth by using blood vessels as a nutrient source, secreting chemicals to stop certain immune responses and now by silencing neurons which blocks the brain from receiving signals that prevent tumor growth. Neuron silencing has been found in stomach cancer. Recent work by Timothy Wang, M.D. at Columbia showed that blocking a neurotransmitter in the nerves that line the stomach could be a new therapy in treating cancers by targeting nearby nerves. While the investigation of neurons’ role in cancer has only occurred in a handful of cancers, there is still much more to be studied on the relationship between cancer cells and nerve cells.
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