In a major breakthrough that may pave the way for an effective treatment against cancer, British scientists have discovered a new group of molecules, which they claim could prevent the deadly tumours from spreading.
A team, led by Dr Gerd Wagner of University of East Anglia has discovered that a synthetic version of a molecule in cancer cells can block an enzyme, which affects how cells attach and invade other cells and spread around the body.
It could be the key researchers have been searching for to prevent cancers from spreading, say the scientists.
"In cancer cells you find the natural molecule UDP-Galactose. We have made a synthetic modification of this molecule and this works as a blocker.
"The expectation is, in the next step of research, that this could be a blocker of this cellular spreading of cancer cells as well.
"What is the really new thing, and really exciting, is this mechanism by which these blockers work is completely new. It is a very early step in the drug development process.
"The enzyme targeted by our molecules is particularly important in lung cancer. It is a general mechanism found in many other cancers, including breast cancer," Dr Wagner was quoted by the Daily Express as saying.