Meet the Protein that Could Help Prevent Stomach Cancer

According to a story from Science Daily, new research indicates that a certain type of protein could be critical for preventing the development of stomach cancer. Interestingly, this protein is part of a group called NF-kB, which are proteins that are normally associated with an increased risk of cancer. However, the specific protein in question, NF-kB1, goes against the grain and actually helps suppress cancer.
Stomach cancer typically develops from the lining of the stomach. There are several potential causes of stomach cancer, and the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is implicated in over sixty percent of cases. Other risk factors include the Epstein-Barr virus, smoking, certain dietary factors (smoked food, processed meats, pickled and salty foods), obesity, and genetics. Stomach cancer can be particularly dangerous because it often does not cause symptoms until it has spread. These can include heartburn, upper abdominal pain, appetite loss, nausea, jaundice, weight loss, problems swallowing, vomiting, and bloody feces. If the cancer has spread, those areas may also be affected by other symptoms. While screenings have significantly improved survival rates in some countries, the global five year survival rate is still only ten percent or less. To learn more about stomach cancer, click here.

When NK-kB1 was switched off, the likelihood of stomach cancer randomly developing from long term, chronic inflammation of the stomach increased significantly. The research also led the team to conclude the immunotherapy might be a good treatment option for stomach cancer cases that developed as the result of chronic, uncontrolled inflammation. The suppression of NK-kB1 was associated with a greater likelihood of long term inflammation becoming a problem.

Overall, the usage of immunotherapies to treat stomach cancer is not a part of standard treatment, but this data has revealed certain markers on stomach cancer tumor cells that reveal a possible vulnerability. A type of immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy called anti-PDL1 has already been used to treat other types of cancer, such as melanoma, successfully. It appears that this type might be the best fit for treating stomach cancer as well.

With this in mind, clinical testing of immunotherapies on stomach cancer patients will be a necessary next step to further demonstrate its potential.

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