MAR 11, 2015 02:42 PM PDT

Understanding of Cancer Cell Enzyme Flipped on its Head

Researchers from Manchester, working with scientists in California, have found that certain molecules long thought to promote cancer growth, in fact suppress tumors, suggesting that therapeutic approaches should aim to restore, rather than block, their activity.

The protein kinase C (PKC) family of molecules are enzymes that facilitate a range of cellular processes, including cell survival, proliferation, migration and death. In the 1980s it was found that PKCs were activated by cancer-causing phorbol esters, and led to the conclusion that PKCs themselves induced the development of tumors.

However, attempts to develop new treatments that prevent tumor cell growth by blocking the activity of PKCs have had little success. A recent study involving Manchester scientists, the findings of which have been published in the journal Cell, has explored the effect of mutations in PKC on tumor growth.

Dr John Brognard, from the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at The University of Manchester - part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - said: "Despite phorbol esters being known to cause cancers, we've seen frustratingly little progress when targeting PKCs to stop tumor growth."

The Manchester group collaborated with a team from the University of California, San Diego, to analyse PKC mutations in human cancer cells. They found that most were ‘loss of function' mutations, meaning that the genetic changes stopped PKC from working.

When they corrected these mutations in bowel cancer cells, they saw a reduction in tumor growth, meaning that contrary to our previous understanding, PKC normally acts to block cancer.

"Clinical trials have so far been working on the incorrect assumption that PKC enzymes cause cancer growth. This new insight from our studies has turned current thinking on its head. Looking ahead, instead of blocking PKC activity, new therapies should instead be targeting mechanisms to restore its activity," added Dr Brognard.

Source: University of Manchester
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
You May Also Like
JUN 07, 2018
Clinical & Molecular DX
JUN 07, 2018
Digital Screening Vital for Detecting Breast Cancer
A combination of two digital techniques could be the best way to diagnose breast cancer. In a new study, scientists show how combining a technique called t...
JUN 13, 2018
Cancer
JUN 13, 2018
Tailored vaccine boosts survival for some brain cancer patients
In a new multicenter clinical trial, a personalized vaccine improved the survival rates of some people with the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma. Currently...
JUN 19, 2018
Earth & The Environment
JUN 19, 2018
Does Roundup cause cancer?
Monsanto has long been the scary monster lurking in the closet, with its seed-patenting and fertilizer-pushing. Now the first case actually bringing the co...
JUL 09, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 09, 2018
Scientists Found a New Way to Treat Lung Cancer
Small cell lung cancer is an aggressive type that can be fatal; there were few treatments for the disease. That may have changed....
AUG 07, 2018
Cancer
AUG 07, 2018
Renal Cell Carcinoma and Myelodysplastic Syndrome Show Epigenetic Association
DNA methylation patterns in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have a strong association with myelodysplastic syndrome DNA hypermethylation later in life....
OCT 06, 2018
Drug Discovery
OCT 06, 2018
New Class of Drugs for Breast Cancer Therapy
Scientists at Stevens Institute of Technology have designed a new class of molecules that may hold the potential to add to the arsenal of drugs actively be...
Loading Comments...