Researchers at Israel’s oldest university, the Technion, have found two proteins that are able to suppress the spreading and growth of cancer cells. In the published paper on their findings, researchers show that these proteins can repress cancer. They also mention that high levels of the protein called KPC1 and another called p50 are able to protect tissue from tumors.
This study took place in Professor Aaron Ciechanover’s laboratory. He is a recipient of the Nobel Prize for chemistry for discovering the ubiquitin process. This process is a cell system that breaks down damaged proteins that can potentially damage otherwise healthy cells and tissue. Scientists used human tumors for the study that were then grown inside of mice. They also used samples taken from human tumors themselves.
The ubiquitin system
These previously unknown proteins were discovered while studying the ubiquitin process. The process is an essential part of the life of cells. It handles the destruction of defective proteins that will damage cells if not eliminated. The ubiquitin system will typically tag the unhealthy proteins, along with nonessential healthy proteins, for destruction.
When KPC1 is a key component of the ubiquitin system, it generates p50. Researchers found higher levels of KPC1 and/or p50 in healthy tissue can defend the tissue from cancerous tumors. Developing drugs or cancer treatments based on the findings is possible, but years in the future.
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