In a study that was published in Nature Cancer, researchers led by Prof. Cedric Blanpain, WELBIO investigator Director of the Laboratory of Stem Cells and Cancer and Professor at the Universite libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium, discovered that NR2F2 is an essential regulator of malignant tumors by controlling cancer stem cell and tumor maintenance in mice and human cancers.
Federico Mauri and his colleagues utilized a mix of state-of-the-art genetic models to study the significance of NR2F2 for human and mouse skin cancer. The researchers discovered that NR2F2 is present in malignant cancers. The inactivation of NR2F2 blocks the development of benign tumors to malignant ones and suppresses the essential functions of tumors which leads to tumor regression. “It was extremely exciting to see that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of NR2F2 can trigger tumor regression or stop the progression of invasive malignant tumor states responsible for metastasis” says Federico Mauri, the first author of this study.
The authors performed a detailed histological analysis as well as a molecular characterization to discover the molecular mechanism that NR2F2 regulates the growth of tumors and their progression. NR2F2 promotes tumor cell proliferation and invasive characteristics, while repressing the death of cells and tumor differentiation, as well as immune cell infiltration into the tumor.
One of the most striking findings of this study is that the inactivation of NR2F2 stimulates tumor differentiation, leading to the regression of tumors. Despite the astounding efficacy of pro-differentiation therapy in the treatment of promyelomonocyticleukemia only a handful of pro-differentiation therapies are available for treating solid cancers. The development of NR2F2 inhibits will keep many essential cancer functions in check and is a promising approach to develop a new treatment for cancer.
Pr Cedric Blanpain is the principal author of this study.
Cedric Blanpain and ULB created a company named ChromaCure in order to discover and develop small-molecule therapies that target NR2F2 to address unmet clinical needs in oncology.
Mauri, F., and Mauri, F., and. (2021). NR2F2 regulates malignant squamous cells cancer state by promoting stemness, invasion, and repressing differentiation. Nature. doi.org/10.1038/s43018-021-00287-5.
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