A kinase is a type of enzyme the body uses to regulate the functions of the proteins required for cell growth and maintenance, and researchers have discovered that one in particular plays a key role in developing prostate cancer. "It's known as Mnk, and although it appears not to be essential for normal cell maintenance, it's important for cancer growth" said Dr. Luc Furic, a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. Nahum Sonenberg at McGill University's Goodman Cancer Research Centre and Department of Biochemistry.
This is a very significant finding because the body's chemical processes are highly complex and interrelated, meaning that targeting one cause of cancer often involves affecting the body's normal functions. An important part of cancer research is about trying to find processes that can be inhibited or stopped without causing damages to normal tissue.
The chemical process Mnk uses is known as phosphorylation, and this process activates or inactivates the body's proteins, controlling mechanisms that can cause disease. In this case, Mnk works with a protein known as eIF4E to synthesize proteins in the cell.
Researchers at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal Research Centre (CRCHUM), Université de Montréal and McGill University engineered mice that were able to block the phosphorylation process of this protein, and discovered that these mice became resistant to prostate cancer growth. "The PTEN gene and its protein act as a tumour suppressor," explained Dr. Fred Saad, researcher at the CRCHUM and at Université de Montréal's Department of Surgery. "By removing this gene in the mouse prostate, we were able to study eIF4E's effect on cell growth."
The research is directly related to humans, because PTEN is frequently mutated in human prostate cancer. Studies on cancer patients have confirmed eIF4E's involvement.
The task ahead will be to find a specific and selective pharmacological inhibitor of Mnks. Although some inhibitors are used for research purposes, these inhibitors are not highly specific to this kinase.
The research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received funding from the National Cancer Institute of Canada (Canada Cancer Society), the National Institutes of Health, Canada, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation and the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec.
William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding