Compound used to block cholesterol could also kill breast cancer, researcher finds

Feb 22, 2011

A University of Missouri researcher believes there could be a new drug compound that could kill breast cancer cells. The compound might also help with controlling cholesterol.

Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professor in and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, and his research team discovered that a small molecule, Ro 48-8071, initially developed for controlling cholesterol synthesis "dramatically destroys" human . This development was discovered as Hyder's research team was investigating PRIMA-1, a drug that targets a common mutated gene in human breast cancer cells, and kills tumor cells.

During the course of the study, Xiaoquin Zou, an assistant professor in the MU Department of Physics and Astronomy, compared the chemistry of PRIMA-1 binding to thousands of proteins using a software program she developed called MDock. Hyder and Zou found that PRIMA-1 showed excellent binding properties to a protein called oxidosqualene cyclase, (OSC) that is known to be important for producing cholesterol. This led Hyder's team to investigate whether known OSC inhibitors, such as Ro 48-8071, developed to stop cholesterol production, also killed breast cancer cells.

"We had been working with PRIMA-1 for some time, and what we didn't quite understand is exactly how it killed ," Hyder said. "With the current findings, we think it's possible that one mechanism utilized by PRIMA-1 to kill cancer cells may include shutting down synthesis, but we still don't know for certain if that's the case. What we do know is that Ro 48-8071 does stop , and it proved to be just as effective in destroying cancer cells as PRIMA-1, without harming other normal breast cells, which is a big advantage."

While there are still many studies to complete, including testing on humans, Hyder believes there are great possibilities in using Ro 48-8071 as a treatment for breast cancer. Hyder gives equal credit to MU colleagues Xiaoqin Zou, Sam Grinter, graduate student in physics; Yayun Liang, assistant professor and Dalton researcher and Sheng-You Huang, research associate.

"This is a good example of interdisciplinary research, where colleagues with different expertise collaborated to find targets and verify their use for therapy. We couldn't have achieved this finding with each of us working on our own," Hyder said.

Explore further: The origin of the language of life

More information: The study results are published in an article "An inverse docking approach for identifying new potential anti-cancer targets" in the February Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Getting to the roots of breast cancer

Apr 29, 2008

The lesson learned in eradicating dandelions from your yard could apply in treating breast cancer as well, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in a report that appears online today in the Journal of ...

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

20 hours ago

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

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.