Scientists discover new protein involved in lung cancer

February 27, 2014

Scientists from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) - have discovered a new protein that is involved in cancer and inflammation in lung tissue.

The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, could help in the development of new drugs to target .

Lung cancer is the most common cause of in Greater Manchester, with around 930 men and 790 women dying from the disease every year in the area.

While there have been major advances in treatments and outcomes for some cancers over the past 60 years, lung cancer patients have enjoyed few of these improvements and new therapies have not made a difference to their survival.

The research by the Manchester team looked at glucocorticoids, the hormones that regulate inflammation and energy production in cells in the body. In lung cancer these hormones are known to play a role in controlling .

Glucocorticoids work through receptors, and this new research reveals how these receptors work. In particular, a newly discovered enzyme, known as Merm1, was discovered to be essential for glucocorticoids to work normally. Merm1 was found to be suppressed in lung inflammation, and in cancer.

Professor David Ray, Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology at The University of Manchester who led the research, said: "We know that resistance to glucocorticoids happens in various inflammatory diseases, as well as cancer, in . We wanted to explore whether a protein, known as Merm1, was involved in this resistance and therefore involved in controlling the that is the hallmark of cancer."

The study showed Merm1 controls the binding between a glucocorticoid receptor and its target genes. This step is essential for the receptor to work, and to control cell growth, and division. More importantly, it revealed that , as seen in asthma or bronchitis, results in loss of Merm1.

Professor Ray said: "This work shows that targeting Merm1 could offer a new strategy in developing anti-inflammatory treatments.

Dr Toryn Poolman, from The University of Manchester and MCRC who also worked on the research, said: "The study has given us a new insight into the mechanisms at play in and lung cancer. We believe it could provide a new area to target drugs in lung cancer."

Explore further: Cancer deaths higher in Greater Manchester compared to rest of UK

Related Stories

Cancer deaths higher in Greater Manchester compared to rest of UK

February 6, 2014
Every day 18 people die from cancer in Greater Manchester – around 6,500 a year – making the death toll around 10 per cent higher than the UK average, according to the latest figures published by Cancer Research UK - ...

Targeted treatment is better than chemotherapy in some lung cancer patients

January 13, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Patients with lung cancer who also have a specific gene rearrangement do better on a new targeted therapy compared with standard chemotherapy, according a study by University of Manchester scientists.

Genetic screen finds new treatment targets for lung cancer

July 9, 2013
Cancer Research UK scientists are the first to use an efficient new screening strategy to identify gene faults in tumour cells that are possible drug targets for the most common form of lung cancer, according to new research ...

Research shows molecular, protein targeting therapies may be best treatment for certain lung cancer

January 7, 2014
University of Cincinnati (UC) Cancer Institute researchers have found that using therapies specifically targeting the molecular profile of non-small-cell lung cancer with the mutated cancer-causing protein KRas is the most ...

Hormone therapy linked to better survival after lung cancer diagnosis in women

February 26, 2014
Survival among people with lung cancer has been better for women than men, and the findings of a recent study indicate that female hormones may be a factor in this difference. The combination of estrogen plus progesterone ...

Lung cancer surgery survival rates unchanged since 1950s

November 20, 2013
No treatment for lung cancer today gives us significantly better chances of survival than chest surgery from 60 years ago, according to a medical historian from The University of Manchester.

Recommended for you

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

November 20, 2017
A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at ...

Researchers discover a new target for 'triple-negative' breast cancer

November 20, 2017
So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form. It accounts for only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases, but is responsible for about 25 percent of breast cancer fatalities.

Study reveals new mechanism used by cancer cells to disarm attacking immune cells

November 20, 2017
A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) identifies a substance released by pancreatic cancer cells that protects ...

Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose cancer drugs

November 20, 2017
Doctors have many drugs available to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. However, there is no way to predict, by genetic markers or other means, how a patient will respond to a particular drug. This can lead to ...

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension

November 17, 2017
Shortness of breath and respiratory distress often increase the suffering of advanced-stage lung cancer patients. These symptoms can be triggered by pulmonary hypertension, as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart ...

Researchers discover an Achilles heel in a lethal leukemia

November 16, 2017
Researchers have discovered how a linkage between two proteins in acute myeloid leukemia enables cancer cells to resist chemotherapy and showed that disrupting the linkage could render the cells vulnerable to treatment. St. ...

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.