Identification of the cells responsible for colon cancer relapse

Published in Nature

Scientists from the Colorectal Cancer laboratory, led by ICREA researcher Dr. Eduard Batlle, have identified the population of residual tumour cells responsible for the recurrence of colorectal cancer in other organs. They have discovered a population of cells called High Relapse Cells (HRCs) that can detach from the primary tumour and remain hidden for some time before they develop a metastasis, causing cancer to reappear. These HRCs can be eliminated by immunotherapy before surgery, thereby preventing the development of metastases. 

The work could lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches and diagnostic tools to slow down the progression of the disease and improve its prognosis. The researchers have also developed a new experimental mouse model that recreates the process undergone by patients who relapse. The study has been published in the journal Nature.

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