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Published on 15 July 2008

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Protein research promises cancer therapies

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Angiocidin, a tumour-inhibiting novel protein discovered by researchers at Temple University, USA, may also have a role as a new therapeutic application in treating leukaemia.

The study, to be published in the 15 July issue of the journal Cancer Research, follows years of exploring the protein’s effect on solid tumours such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer.

“All of these cancers are inhibited by Angiocidin by virtue of the fact that this protein inhibits vascularization or the formation of new vessels,” said lead researcher Prof George Tuszynski. “We decided we wanted to look to see if Angiocidin had any effect on haematologic malignancy, and we chose leukaemia.”

Tuszynski said leukaemia cells arise from monocytes, a specific white blood cell that is a part of the human body’s immune system that protects against blood-borne pathogens and moves quickly to sites of infection. As monocytes enter tissue, they undergo a series of changes to become macrophages.

“Our molecule was able to induce a differentiation of these monocytic leukemia cells into a normal, macrophage-like phenotype,” Prof Tuszynski said.

“This indicates perhaps a new therapeutic application for this protein, that it could differentiate haematologic malignancies into a normal-like state, allowing then for chemotherapy, because normal cells are susceptible.” said Tuszynski, who is also a member of the Sol Sherry Thrombosis Research Center in Temple’s School of Medicine.

The same issue of Cancer Research also carries a paper exploring an association between overexpression of tissue type transglutaminase (TG2) in ovarian cancer and increased tumour cell growth and adhesion, resistance to chemotherapy and lower overall survival rates.

Researchers from the University of Texas, USA, targeted and silenced TG2 in animal models, reversing cancer progression. This suggests that the protein may also provide a novel therapeutic approach for late-stage ovarian cancer.

Cancer Research



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