Thursday, October 22, 2009

Protein linked to lung cancer

We know that smoking and radon can cause lung cancer. As we learn more about the biology of malignant tumors, hopefully we will see some cancer cures emerging on the horizon. The latest research from the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT suggests that the protein NF-kappaB could be a novel target for cancer drugs. According to this recent MIT News story:
NF-kappaB is a transcription factor protein that is normally activated when a cell is under attack from a virus or bacterium. Previous studies have suggested that constant activation of NF-kappaB enhances survival of tumor cells.
The research findings were published in Nature and I'm eager to read the entire study. The key points were that the expression of the cancer gene ras and loss of the tumor suppressor gene p53 activates activate NF-kappaB. So, lung cancer patients who have this combination could be treated by a drug that targets NF-kappaB.

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