New protein structure model to inhibit cancer

July 29, 2011 By Helene Murphy

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have developed a new structural model of a protein, which makes it possible to develop more effective drugs to target diseases such as cancer, heart disease and influenza.

In a paper which will be published in the Journal of online later this month, a research team lead by Dr. Andreas Kukol at the University’s School of Life Sciences, describes how they have developed a new 3D model of a which unleashes the inhibition of the growth of cells which, unless stunted, could lead to the spread of cancer or support infections such as .

“Our bodies are made up of proteins and therefore they are important for the proper functioning of the body,” said Dr. Kukol. “Malfunction of the protein can lead to cancer. This happens when it becomes over active, so our task has been to identify inhibitors.”

A research team led by Dr. Kukol developed a 3D model of the kinase IKK-β enzyme which is a protein that regulates other proteins.

“This enzyme controls proteins like policeman controls traffic,” said Dr. Kukol. “If the policeman or the enzyme gets out of control, then there will be chaos.”

The new 3D model can be used to find new inhibitors, such as organic molecules like aspirin that attach to the active site of the enzyme and make it less active thus stopping the spread of cancer or influenza.

The model is now ready for pharmaceutical companies to adopt so that they can develop more effective drugs to target these conditions. Dr. Kukol explained that the comparative modeling and computer simulation methods they used for this protein may be taken up by other research groups. In that way protein structure modelling could lead to more accurate models in the future.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study examines evolution of cancer

February 8, 2016

A novel Yale study answers age-old questions about how cancers spread by applying tools from evolutionary biology. The new insights will help scientists better understand the genetic origins of tumor metastases, and lead ...

The growing menace of HPV‑related throat and mouth cancers

February 2, 2016

There's a new cancer epidemic on the rise. It's an aggressive throat and mouth cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)—the same sexually transmitted virus that leads to cervical cancer—but it's affecting mostly ...

How gut inflammation sparks colon cancer

February 4, 2016

Chronic inflammation in the gut increases the risk of colon cancer by as much as 500 percent, and now Duke University researchers think they know why.

0 comments

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.