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Fruit flies & cancer

Research from Oxford University, UK, has found a new potential way to fight cancer in studies with fruit flies.

The team, funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK), discovered a cell communication mechanism which allows cancer cells to produce molecules to promote their own growth.

This mechanism involves cells releasing exosomes – small bubbles that act as shuttles that transfer genetic information - up until now exosomes were only known to keep cells healthy.

By comparing fruit fly and human cancer cells, scientists have shown that Rab11a-exosomes carry different information that may help cancers to grow and survive current treatments.

“This lab-based work is still a long way off benefitting people with cancer, but provides helpful clues to how we might be able to tackle the disease in new ways in future," said Emily Farthing of CRUK.

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