The research was done using mice bred without epsins and also using human cells in a Petri dish.
The research is far from over, but it is a step that could lead to some interesting new therapies, Chen said.
For example, if doctors could slow or stop a cancer tumor from growing, it could mean more time to treat the patient. It could also mean less of a chance the tumor would continue to grow and damage the body.
“Obviously, we don't want cancers growing large, so we are trying to better understand the mechanics of angiogenesis — the creation of blood vessels — which led us to experiment with epsins,” Chen said in a news release.
The initial findings give a better understanding of the role epsins play. With a tumor, there's a higher density of epsins than in the rest of the body, Chen said.
The next step could be creating a drug that suppresses the creation of epsins.
Chen said it's a promising first step that could lead to better treatments and outcomes for cancer patients.