The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning announced on Sept. 2 that professor Um Hong-duk at the Korea Institute of Radiological Medical Sciences discovered an enzyme accelerating the spread of cancer cells for the first time and defined the mechanism for controlling it.
Metastatic cancer, called second cancer, can almost never be cured now. Besides, the principle of the metastasis of the cancer has yet to be defined.
The professor and his research team, however, found out in a rat and lung cancer cell experiment that the complex 1 enzyme in cellular mitochondria plays a key role in accelerating the spread of cancer through active oxygen generation. They also confirmed that the Bax protein, which kills unnecessary cells, is involved with the process, and the p21 protein, which is known to control cell growth, suppresses the spread by decomposing the metastasis-accelerating material of slugs.
The outcome of the research can be found in two research papers published on the Oncotarget and the European Molecular Biotechnology Organization (EMBO) Journal.