Belgian scientists make great progress in the fight against cancer


For the first time ever, researchers from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have discovered very specific differences between various groups of cancer cells. In fact, they have identified the cells that cause it to spread, resulting in secondary tumours that penetrate other organs in the case of skin and breast cancer, the two most common forms of cancer.

This Belgian discovery, which was recently published in the prestigious journal Nature, is a very promising step and paves the way for new cancer treatments. Professor Cédric Blanpain, who coordinated the research explains: ‘We thought that the most malicious and invasive cell population was behind the spread of the disease, but in fact this is not true. The population with the most metastases is actually a molecule with a strong resemblance to the population of the primary tumour.’

The ULB researchers are also focusing on the two other tumour populations which may explain why current treatment can sometimes fail. They are trying to understand why certain tumours are resistant to chemotherapy and others are not. They have discovered a molecule that can clarify the difference.

It is essential to treat patients before metastases occurs, all the more so because prevention is the best strategy. Nonetheless, research must be urgently carried out and encouraged into the most effective new treatments to give hope to patients with cancer that has already spread.