New proteins discovered that link obesity-driven diabetes to cancer

cancer
Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Credit: NIH

For the first time, researchers have determined how bromodomain (BRD) proteins work in type 2 diabetes, which may lead to a better understanding of the link between adult-onset diabetes and certain cancers.

The findings, which appear in PLOS ONE, show that reducing levels in of individual BRDs, called BET proteins, previously shown to play a role in cancer, may also help patients who are obese and diabetic.

The research was led by Gerald V. Denis, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, who was the first to show that BET protein functions are important in cancer development.

Adult-onset has been known for decades to increase the risk for specific cancers. The three main members of the BET protein family, BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4, are closely related to each other and often cooperate. However at times, they work independently and sometimes against each other.

According to the researchers new small molecule BET inhibitors have been developed that block all three BET proteins in cancer cells, but they interfere with too many functions.

"The BET proteins provide a new pathway to connect adult-onset diabetes with , so properly targeting BET proteins may be helpful for both," explained Denis, who is the corresponding author of the study.

He believes this discovery shows the need for deeper analysis of individual BET proteins in all human cell types, starting with boosting insulin and improving metabolism in the pancreas of adults who are obese.

"Without better targeted drugs, some ongoing for BET inhibitors are premature. These new results offer useful insight into drug treatments that have failed so far to appreciate the complexities in the BET family."


Explore further

New target for prostate cancer resistant to anti-hormone therapies

Journal information: PLoS ONE

Citation: New proteins discovered that link obesity-driven diabetes to cancer (2016, March 23) retrieved 16 September 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-03-proteins-link-obesity-driven-diabetes-cancer.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
4 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 23, 2016
I like the new proteins. Good for dabetes

Mar 23, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more