Tag Archives: Protein

Targeting Proteins May Prevent Metastasis of Cancers

Targeting Proteins May Prevent Metastasis of Cancers
Targeting Proteins May Prevent Metastasis of Cancers

New research has uncovered the existence of a protein that helps tumors spread, enabling their capacity to grow blood vessels. Could targeting this protein in cancer treatment experimentation lead to a new potential cure?

Not So Fast!
Published in the journal Oncogene, the study involved laboratory experiments blocking the protein latent TGF-beta binding protein 3 (LTBP3), prevented tumors from effectively metastasizing. A collaborative effort between multiple researchers, the investigation began based on the observation that lower levels of the protein LTBP3 correlated to an improved survival outcome in those with certain types of cancer.

A Complex Dynamic
The LTBP3 protein binds to a substance called TGF-beta to metastasize. TGF-beta presents a double-edged sword, either aiding the spread of tumors – or putting a halt to metastasis. Our bodies rely on TGF-beta to function properly. In early stages, it suppresses cancer growth. However in advanced cancers, it transforms and promotes tumor growth. The cancer treatment trick? To control the harmful effects of TGF-beta without disturbing normal cell function.

A Confirmed Association
As researchers looked closer into the interplay of LTBP3 and TGF-beta using head and neck carcinoma and fibroscarcoma in mice and chicks, the scientists discovered LTBP3 helps tumors grow blood vessels, and primary tumors could not metastasize properly in its absence. This corroborated the previous research associating lower levels of the LTBP3 protein with better patient outcomes. Further research into this complex dynamic is highly anticipated.

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Technion Lab Finds Protein That Suppresses Cancer

Researchers Find New Cancer Suppressing Protein
Researchers Find New Cancer Suppressing Protein

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.

The research

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.

The proteins

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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