Researchers turn cancer friend into cancer foe

Oct 07, 2008

Burnham Institute for Medical Research today announced that scientists have created a peptide that binds to Bcl-2, a protein that protects cancer cells from programmed cell death, and converts it into a cancer cell killer. The research, which was published as the featured article in the October 7 edition of Cancer Cell, may lead to new cancer treatments.

The Bcl-2 protein has long been implicated in protecting cancer cells from apoptosis (programmed cell death), the process that usually keeps cancer cells in check. This peptide (called NuBCP-9) and its enantiomer (mirror-image molecule) work on Bcl-2 like a molecular switch, converting it into a pro-apoptotic protein, and inducing cell death in cancer cells.

"Our results provide insight into Bcl-2 conversion and identify a new direction for Bcl-2-based drug leads and cancer drug development," said Xiao-kun Zhang, Ph.D., who co-authored the paper with Arnold Satterthwait, Ph.D. and others.

The NuBCP-9 peptide was created from Nur77, a potent pro-apoptotic protein. Nur77 often moves from the nucleus to mitochondria, in response to different death signals, where it binds to Bcl-2, changing its shape and function.

Source: Burnham Institute

Explore further: Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

Related Stories

Predicting how proteins will partner

Mar 28, 2012

Growing up with a father who taught at Cornell University, and surrounded by friends whose parents were also on Cornell faculty, Amy Keating had little doubt that she would follow the same path.

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

Jul 03, 2015

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.