Discovery may lead to targeted therapies to interrupt cancer development
Principal investigator Craig Thompson, MD (right), shows immunologist Casey Fox, PhD, images of gel results (dark bands) of surviving cancer cells when enzyme Pim-2 is present. Their latest research into the origins of cancer is published in the August 1 edition of Genes & Development. Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania (2003)
(Philadelphia, PA) – Researchers at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania have determined that a key enzyme, Pim-2, is responsible for the survival of cancer cells. The finding – which will appear in the August 1 edition of the journal Genes & Development – represents an important advance in understanding why cancer cells survive in the body (working against the bodys natural immune system), before growing into tumors. It also answers a 20-year-old question as to the purpose of Pim-2, an enzyme present in high concentrations in many tumors, but left unstudied to this time; and it equates Pim-2 with another, more commonly studied survival pathway, the Akt-enzyme pathway.
"This finding is important because it shows, for the first time, how Pim-2 works and its key role in cancer cell survival," said Craig Thompson, MD, Principal Investigator of the study and Scientific Director of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute (AFCRI). "Up until now, predominant thinking has looked to the Akt pathway as the primary pathway for cancer cells. Now we know that Pim-2 plays an equally important role – and it is as much of a cancer-promoting gene, or oncogene, as Akt.
David March | EurekAlert!
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