Italian researchers – A natural protein called nerve growth factor (NGF) may prove an effective target for the treatment of liver cancer.
NGF is an essential component in the growth and differentiation of neuronal cells.
A team at the National Research Council of Italy and elsewhere found that NGF and its receptor trk/ANGF were expressed in the livers of patients with liver cirrhosis and/or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The two molecules were not detected in the livers of healthy people.
The findings indicate that NGF plays an important role in the development of liver cirrhosis and its progression to HCC, the researchers said. By targeting NGF, it may be possible to prevent or suppress the development of cirrhosis and HCC.
NGF may also prove a useful marker for early diagnosis of liver cirrhosis and HCC