MU researchers claim breakthrough in cancer research

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COLUMBIA - Researchers at the University of Missouri have found out how an enzyme in the body helps tumors grow.

Researchers hope this leads to learning how to treat cancer. This is just one step in the direction to help further cancer research. 

“By understanding the submicroscopic world, we have hope of understanding how our bodies work and how some processes go awry, such as in cancer. We can use this information to help guide us as we pursue drug discovery to help the public,” said Steven Van Doren, MU Professor of Biochemistry. 

The enzyme researched lets tumor cells tunnel through collagen and then creates a path for tumors to spread cancer around the body.

“Part of what he [Van Doren] was able to do and understand was how these proteins interact, how they move, how they bind to different surfaces, and uses that to be able to determine how problems or mutations in these proteins may result in cancer," said Peter Cornish, associate professor of biochemistry.

Researchers hope this new information can eventually help find a cure.

“Researchers, such as Dr. Van Doren, myself, and others were generally interested in trying to understand the basic problems on how these problems in the cell can result in cancer,” said Cornish.

They think it may even give new ways to study other disease, too. 

“The long term goal of what we do in basic science is figure how things work so that down the road, somebody can come along and find out a way to fix the problem,” said Cornish.