Scatter factor (SF) is a growth factor that controls the proliferation and survival of many tissues by promoting invasive growth in both normal and disease-related biological processes. Produced in a precursor form, pro-SF must be cleaved in order to activate its receptor, Met tyrosine kinase. In the November 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Paolo Michieli and colleagues developed an uncleavable form of pro-SF and used it in a gene therapy approach in mice to inhibit invasive tumor growth. Administration of the uncleavable pro-SF at the site of the tumor prevented the development of new blood vessels to the tumor, tumor growth, and tumor spread to other tissues, without affecting any normal physiological functions. The study demonstrates that the cleavage of pro-SF is an important step in the progression of tumor development and also suggests that drugs that inhibit this cleavage may lead to successful anti-cancer therapies.
TITLE: An uncleavable form of pro-scatter factor suppresses tumor growth and dissemination in mice.
Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, University of Torino Medical School, Candiolo, Italy.
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