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: Six percent of colorectal cancer found to be interval tumors

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Physicians target the genes of lung, colon cancers

9 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—University of Florida physicians and researchers are collaborating to map the genes of different types of cancer, and then deliver medication to attack cancer at its source.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.