SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that a protein, known as CD47, has a role in enabling atherosclerosis, the process underlying heart attacks and strokes.
CD47 on the surface of many cells, including those of tumor cells in the human body, gives a so-called “don’t eat me” signal to immune cells known as macrophages, indicating that a cell is alive, still going strong and part of a person’s healthy tissue.
The increasing knowledge that scientists are gaining about the basics of our biology are allowing them to gain the upper hand in the war against cancer. is the most deadly of skin cancers because it metastasizes so well.
Scientists have discovered the mechanism that allows it to do so and to put a stop to it. When the immune system attacks melanoma, it evades being destroyed because it has a surface protein CD47 which tells the immune cells not to eat the cancer cells. By blocking CD47 and another protein, CD271, scientists have stopped melanoma from metastasizing.