Basel – Targeting the function of beta1-integrin may represent a novel approach to cancer treatment (EMBO J. 2007 Jun 20;26(12):2832-42). Blocking the action of this transmembrane recptor, which mediates cell-cell contact, could help to prevent the formation of metastases by reducing tumour cell proliferation and inducing cell senescence.
Angelika Kren from Basel university investigated transgenic Rip1Tag2 mice with insulinomas, tumours of pancreatic beta cells, which metastasize in pancreas lymph nodes. When they blocked beta1-integrin function in these mice, tumour cells started disseminating into lymphatic blood vessels as they were no longer attached to anything. However, the cells did not elicit metastasis and were unable to form tumours. They ultimately stopped growing and became senescent.