St. Jude study shows success in blocking CK2 activity in tumor cells, suggesting that a similar tactic could enhance treatment of patients with colorectal cancer and other solid tumors
A protein called CK2 plays a deadly role in colorectal carcinoma by blocking the ability of these tumors to activate a natural self-destruct mechanism that would clear this cancer from the body. This finding, by researchers at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, is currently published in the online edition of Oncogene. The renegade CK2 protein keeps the tumor alive and growing by desensitizing the cancer cells to the effects of another protein called TRAIL. Normally, TRAIL triggers apoptosis (cell suicide) in the cancer cells as a way of protecting the body. CK2 is an enzyme composed of four small proteins--two alpha proteins and two beta proteins.
The finding holds promise for developing drugs that help a patients cancer cells become sensitized to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. For example, treating the tumors with TRAIL to trigger apoptosis while blocking CK2 might enhance anti-cancer treatment for a variety of other solid tumors, such as pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma, according to Janet Houghton, Ph.D., a member of St. Jude Hematology-Oncology. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a tumor originating in cells that have some features of muscle cells.
Bonnie Cameron | EurekAlert!
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