SCIENTISTS COULD `SWITCH OFF` CANCER!
Melbourne August 12:
Scientists claim to have found a way to "switch off" a molecule that is a key player in triggering breast cancer and certain forms of leukaemia.
Researchers in Australia have found a way of blocking signals to and from Gab2 -- the molecule operating downstream of major breast cancer oncogene HER2 -- preventing it from its role in cell proliferation, the EMBO Journal reported.
"Gab2 is a signaling protein, which means that it's involved in transmitting signals from the cell surface to the interior of the cell, instructing it to do specific things, such as divide or migrate.
"Gab2 performs a number of signaling roles in normal cells throughout the body, and is usually switched off when it is not needed. Our task has been to work out how the body switches off Gab2, so that we can mimic that process in abnormal cells.
"We've identified a completely novel mechanism for switching off Gab2. This uses another molecule that attaches to Gab2 and acts as a kind of shield, preventing it from transmitting further proliferative signals. "This binding partner, or 'off switch', is called 14-3-3, and is used to disable Gab2 in a number of cellular settings, when it is no longer needed.
"As Gab2 plays key roles in signaling systems that underpin both normal physiological responses and oncogenesis, it's very important to understand its control mechanisms," said lead researcher Prof Roger Daly of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
In fact, their research is an extension of a previous study which unidentified Gab2. "Our next step is to obtain more structural information about how 14-3-3 shields Gab2. Once we know that, it'd be possible to design drugs to combat Gab2-activated diseases in novel ways," Daly said.