A breakthrough in the understanding of how bladder cancer spreads could offer new HOPE to patients. Close to 70,000 new cases of bladder cancer are diagnosed every year here in the United States, & some of these patients develop INVASIVE bladder cancer-where the cancer grows through the muscle layer of the bladder. When this happens, there is a higher risk that they cancer will spread to other areas of the body & the disease becomes much more difficult to treat. Until now the "signalling process" that allows a benign, small polyp to develop into something that spreads & is invasive has not been clear. NEW research has now identified an important mechanism behind this process. Key to the research is a protein, (PSTI) which is present in MOST bladder cancers. This new research has identified the role that PSTI plays in the "signalling process" that allows the spread & invasion of bladder cancer. By understanding the process by which this protein helps the cells to spread, & invade into other tissue, researchers can start to develop ways to interrupt this process, potentially leading to new treatments!  This has the potential to improve the survival & life quality of those with early diagnosed bladder cancer, & reduce the instances where rigorous drug regimes or invasive surgery are required. This research was led by Professor Raymond Playford & Dr. Tanya Marchbank from Plymouth University in England. Professor Playford says, "Although bladder cancer can be readily treated if caught early enough, once it starts to invade into deeper tissues & spread to distant sites it is a much more difficult, painful & life-affecting cancer to live with". He goes on to say that "Treatment becomes more difficult as tumors grow deeper into the bladder wall & spread, & survival rates DECLINE". It is estimated that just 24% of those with severe invasive bladder cancer will be alive & well 3 years after diagnosis & treatment. The professor adds, "By identifying the mechanism by which bladder cancer develops & spreads, we hope that in time therapies that manipulate this mechanism may be developed to improve the quality of life AND survival rates of those with invasive bladder cancer." In layman's terms...there does appear to be "light at the end of the tunnel". This research is was published the 1st of this month in the American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology.