"This kind of information provides a target for the production of drugs against cancer," said Dr. Bert O'Malley, chair of molecular and cellular biology at BCM. "One can already find drugs that stimulate or inhibit phosphatases in other disease processes."
O'Malley and his colleagues had already determined that SRC-3 is an oncogene or cancer-promoting gene as well as a master switch in the cell. Phosphorylation or adding a phosphate molecule activates its cancer-promoting activities. In this study, the researchers identified three phosphatases that promote removal of the phosphate and thus halt the activity of SRC-3.
Of the three identified, PDXP, PP1, and PP2A, PP1 not only stops SRC-3 activity, it also stops the degradation of the co-activator. SRC-3 then builds up in cells, but without the phosphate, it is a dead molecule that does not function and may even further inhibit tumor growth.
Providing new avenues for fighting cancer is an important outcome of basic science, said O'Malley, who is also associate director for basic research in The Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM. "In cancer right now, many drugs work the same way. They are toxic to all cells. Because the cancer cell grows faster, the drug is more toxic, but there is nothing selective about the process. In the past decade, we have realized that there has to be a better, more intellectual approach to cancer. In fact, some already exist."
For example, the drug Herceptin targets breast cancer cells that carry the protein Her2/neu. Finding drugs that stop the activation of SRC-3, found at high levels in some breast tumors, could provide another avenue of treatment that could target just the cancer cells.
One study, published by Dr. C. Kent Osborne, director of the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at BCM, showed that women whose tumors have both the Her2/neu protein and high levels of SRC-3 are less likely to be helped by drugs such as tamoxifen and more likely to die quickly of their disease. Finding a way to stop Her2/neu and shut down SRC-3 could make the tumor cell's growth controllable, O'Malley said.
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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