Around 700,000 people worldwide die due to gastric cancer. Gastric cancer stands second to lung cancer and a potential protein biomarker to treat the disease has been identified.
"Gastric cancer is the second deadliest disease in the world. We need new approaches," said researcher Andrew Schally, Professor at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in the US.
‘GHRHR is a protein receptor that binds the growth of cancer cells, wherefore decreasing the weight and size of the tumor.
The hormone receptor Growth-Hormone-Releasing Hormone Receptor (GHRH-R) could be a potential biomarker for gastric cancer, the study said.
"The GHRH receptor is both a biomarker that can confirm prognosis and a therapeutic target," Schally said.
The researchers studied nearly 1,000 tumors from patients in China and other parts of the world.
They linked the prevalence of GHRH receptors with larger, more aggressive tumors and lower overall survival.
"We found that measuring GHRH receptor overexpression could be very useful, both for prognosis and identifying the stage of the cancer," said Schally.
The GHRH receptor also offers a potential therapeutic target. The receptor helps drive the aberrant growth associated with gastric and other cancers.
Schally and his collaborators have been working for many years to develop an inhibitor that will reduce or eliminate these signals, culminating in the peptide drug candidate MIA-602.
The study published in the Journal PNAS.
The compound was found to inhibit gastric cancer growth in cell lines and human tumor xenografts, decreasing both tumor size and weight.