January 24, 2012

Slowing Cancer Growth

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women and 39,000 deaths, this year alone. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in the United States. Any hope about how to fight these two cancers is highly useful. Now, two studies have shown that targeting a single protein can help fight both breast cancer and leukemia.

Hsp90 is a specialized chaperone that assists in the maturation of a select clientele of proteins. These proteins include over a hundred transcription factors and kinases, such as steroid receptors, mutant p53 protein, and the HER2 protein involved in breast cancer. This protein was proven to protect other proteins in the cell.

A study out of the University of Gottingen found that when the HSP90 protein is blocked, normal proteins that would be protected by it are at risk of danger. It helps breast cancer by slowing the growth of the protein called Migration Inhibitory Factor, which acts as a growth aid to breast tumors.

Another study performed by David Weinstock and coworkers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institution, showed that HSP90 slowed the growth of the enzyme JAK2, a protein that drives the growth of certain leukemia.

The two studies combined have shown that the protein HSP90 may result in a therapeutic target to many cancers.

Source: The Journal of Experimental Medicine, January 2012