Study pinpoints protein's role in cancer spread

July 24, 2006

Edinburgh scientists have identified the way a specific cell protein can trigger the spread of cancer. The study by researchers in the Cell Signalling Unit, University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre could pave the way for new drugs which limit the protein's ability to turn a normal cell cancerous. The protein, MDM2, normally functions to control the activity of a key cancer preventing protein called p53. In some of the body's cells, the biochemical ratio between MDM2 and p53 can become unbalanced causing MDM2 to act as a cancer-promoting agent.

The project's lead investigator, Dr Kathryn Ball, a researcher at the University, explains: "One way in which MDM2 controls the p53 protein is by activating its destruction and we are interested in understanding how this happens at a biochemical level.

"In the current study, funded by Cancer Research UK, we have identified protein fragments which can bind to MDM2, inhibiting its activity. These fragments could be a good template for drugs designed to hinder the role of MDM2 in the p53 destruction pathway. We hope our findings may lead to improved treatments for a broad range of cancer types."

Welcoming the findings, Professor John Toy, medical director at Cancer Research UK, said: "p53 is a crucial protein that acts as a guardian of the normal cell. Its failure to do its job properly is associated with many types of cancer. If p53 is being destroyed by another protein in a cancer cell, then it offers an excellent target when designing new anti-cancer drugs. This research suggests MDM2 is just such a target."
-end-
The study is published in the current edition of Molecular Cell.

University of Edinburgh

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.