The proteasome is currently a target for developing cancer therapeutics. The FDA has approved Velcade, a proteasome inhibitor, for the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. However, patients on Velcade can experience peripheral neuropathy or become resistant to the drug.
Multiple myeloma cells need increased proteasome activity to survive. Preliminary data from Cho-Park and Steller show that XAV939 can block the growth of multiple myeloma cells by inhibiting the assembly of additional proteasomes without affecting the basal level of proteasomes in the cell. This selective targeting may mean fewer side effects for patients. "Drugs, such as XAV939, that inhibit the proteasome through other mechanisms than Velcade may have significant clinical value," says Steller.
The findings by Cho-Park and Steller also link, for the first time, metabolism and regulation of the proteasome. Sometimes the proteasome digests too much protein, which can lead to loss of muscle, says Steller.
"This discovery reveals fundamental insights into protein degradation, a process important for normal cell biology, and a key factor in disorders such as muscle wasting and neurodegeneration," said Stefan Maas of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partly supported the study. "Intriguingly, the findings also enlighten ongoing research on cancer therapies, exemplifying the impact of basic research on drug development."
|Contact: Joseph Bonner|