Sunday July 21, 2019

Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A new research has set the stage for clinicians to potentially use levels of a pancreatic cancer patient’s PHLPP1 and PKC enzymes as a prognostic and for researchers to develop new therapeutic drugs that change the balance of the two enzymes as a means to treat the disease.

The study, published on Wednesday in Molecular Cell, was led by Alexandra Newton, professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and Timothy Baffi, a graduate student in her lab, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new study built on the team’s work in 2015 that found the enzyme PKC, which was believed in previous studies to promote tumour growth, actually suppressed it.

The latest study took the investigation a step further by uncovering how cells regulate PKC activity and discovered that any time an over-active PKC is inadvertently produced, the PHLPP1 “proofreader” tags it for destruction.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

“That means the amount of PHLPP1 in your cells determines your amount of PKC,” Newton said. “And it turns out those enzyme levels are especially important in pancreatic cancer.”

The team observed 105 pancreatic cancer tumours to analyze the enzyme levels in each one. About 50 per cent of patients with low PHLPP1/high PKC lived longer than five-and-a-half years.

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While still in the earliest stages, Newton hoped this information might one day aid pancreatic diagnostics and treatment.

Pancreatic cancer is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas, a large gland in the digestive system. It typically doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages. Sufferers tend to develop signs, such as back pain and jaundice, when it has spread to other organs. (IANS)

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Researchers Find Way to Make Cancer Cells Self-destruct

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP

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Cancer, Patients, Invasive
Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Pixabay

In a new hope for cancer patients, researchers have found a way to cause some cancer cells to self-destruct.

The research team has identified a new pathway that works as a partner to a gene called MYC which controls normal cell growth, but when it is mutated or amplified in cancer, it sets off a chain reaction that helps tumours grow uncontrollably.

The pathway involves a protein called ATF4, and when it’s blocked, it can cause cancer cells to produce too much protein and die.

Published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the study done on mice points the way towards a new therapeutic approach as inhibitors that can block synthesis of ATF4 already exist.

Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

“What we’ve learned is that we need to go further downstream to block tumour growth in a way that cancer cells can’t easily escape, and our study identifies the target to do just that,” said Constantinos Koumenis, Professor at the University of California.

According to researchers, this finding shows the alternative approach is to target ATF4 itself, since it’s the point where both signal pathways converge, meaning there’s less redundancy built in to allow cancer to survive.

Also Read: Consuming this Bacteria May Cut Risk of Heart Diseases

It also shows that ATF4 turns on the genes MYC needs for growth and also controls the rate at which cells make specific proteins called 4E-BP.

This study also found that when tumours in humans are driven by MYC, ATF4 and its protein partner 4E-BP are also overly expressed, which is further evidence that these findings may point to an approach that could work for humans. (IANS)