New target to stop cancer's spread discovered

Disrupting a key interaction between two types of proteins in cells inhibits the spread of cancerous cells, providing researchers with a new pathway toward developing cancer-fighting drugs, according to new findings by Georgia State University scientists.

is essential for the spread of , also known as metastasis, as well as for other diseases. The research team in the labs of Zhi-Ren Liu, professor of biology, and Jenny Yang, professor of biochemistry, studied the interaction of two molecules, p68 RNA helicase and calcium-calmodulin.

Interrupting the interaction between p68 and calcium-calmodulin, which is essential for cell migration, inhibited metastasis.

The findings were recently published in Nature Communications.

"Cancer, at its primary site, will not necessary kill," Liu explained. "Cancer kills by multi-site metastasis. If we are able to disrupt this interaction, we will able to inhibit . The research indicates that the interaction is absolutely required for all cell migration, and we suspect it may not be limited to cancerous-type cells. It may be a general phenomenon for all cell types."

Calcium-calmodulin is an important protein, acting like a messenger to turn different proteins on and off, said Yang, whose lab focuses on calcium's role in biological processes.

"Calmodulin is a very interesting protein and it interacts with many different systems in response to changes," she said. "We have demonstrated a new . There are new ways possible to modulate calcium signaling as a way to treat diseases."

Because cell migration is a common phenomenon that is not only normal, but also related to diseases, there are impacts on treating other diseases, Liu said, from inflammation to neurodegenerative diseases and heart disease.

More information: The paper, "Interaction between p68 RNA helicase and Ca2+-calmodulin promotes cell migration and metastasis" in Nature Communications is available at dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms2345

Related Stories

Like eavesdropping at a party

Jul 31, 2008

Cells rely on calcium as a universal means of communication. For example, a sudden rush of calcium can trigger nerve cells to convey thoughts in the brain or cause a heart cell to beat. A longstanding mystery has been how ...

New insights to master signalling switch

Feb 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- UCD (University College Dublin) researchers and their collaborators in Sweden and the United States have identified a range of novel protein interactions involved in calcium signalling in brain cells and ...

Researchers uncover activation signal for Aurora-A oncogene

Sep 07, 2010

Aurora-A kinase (AurA) is an enzyme that is hyperactive in many cancers and drives tumor cell proliferation. Several AurA inhibitors are currently being tested in clinical trials to see if they slow tumor growth. Now, researchers ...

Recommended for you

US OKs first-ever DNA alternative to Pap smear (Update 2)

10 hours ago

U.S. government health regulators have cleared a genetic test from Roche as a first-choice screening option for cervical cancer. It was a role previously reserved for the Pap smear, the decades-old mainstay of women's health.

New breast cancer imaging method promising

16 hours ago

The new PAMmography method for imaging breast cancer developed by the University of Twente's MIRA research institute and the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital appears to be a promising new method that could ...

Palliation is rarely a topic in studies on advanced cancer

17 hours ago

End-of-life aspects, the corresponding terminology, and the relevance of palliation in advanced cancer are often not considered in publications on randomized controlled trials (RCTs). This is the result of an analysis by ...

User comments