Navigation Links
Natural anti-viral enzyme helps keep cancer cells alive, researchers find

A molecule that cells normally use to fight viruses is also involved in keeping cancer cells alive, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have discovered.

The anti-viral molecule, called TBK-1, was found to be essential for cancer cells to live, so blocking it might point to a treatment for fighting cancer, the researchers report in today's issue of Cell.

"We got the surprise that this mechanism is involved in cancer cell survival, even though it's normally involved in immune response," said Dr. Michael White, associate professor of cell biology. "We found something a little bit different ?an Achilles' heel of cancer cells that's apparently broadly conserved among many types of solid tumors."

Using cultured human cells, the researchers set out to study enzymes known to be involved in keeping cancer cells alive and proliferating. They soon narrowed the focus to one called RalB. This molecule is part of the Ras family of enzymes, which are mutated in 30 percent of all cancers and in 90 percent of pancreatic cancers.

The UT Southwestern scientists knew that RalB interacts with a protein complex called the exocyst, which helps small secretory packets in cells fuse to the cell membrane. The team isolated this complex, then chemically analyzed the proteins attached to it.

One protein they found on the exocyst, TBK-1, is known to be involved in cells' anti-viral response.

"There was nothing known about that mechanism to suggest how TBK-1 could drive cancer cell survival," Dr. White said.

The researchers found that TBK-1 is turned off in healthy cells unless the immune response is stimulated but was always active in the cancerous cells they studied. When they blocked the function of TBK-1 in both the cancerous and healthy cells, cancer cells died while healthy cells survived.

A German research team has studied clinical samples of tumors and found elevated levels of TBK-1, Dr. White said.

The TBK-1 action is part of an immune reaction called the "host defense response," which is distinct from the "adaptive" immune process, in which the body creates new antibodies against invading pathogens. A great deal is currently understood about how the adaptive immune system fights cancer and also helps create tissue environments permissive to cancer, Dr. White said, but a cancer-promoting role for the host defense response has not been previously seen.

It's a straightforward matter to block the action of TBK-1, so this might be a promising avenue for new cancer treatments, Dr. White said. Because that would also interfere with the body's immune function, however, a balance would have to be found between killing cancer cells and compromising a patient's ability to fight disease.

UT Southwestern researchers are now looking for chemicals that block TBK-1. They are also screening cancer cells for similar biochemical pathways essential to their survival but not essential in normal cells.

"This is making us think that there are many other surprises awaiting discovery regarding biological systems that are inappropriately subverted during development of cancer," Dr. White said.
'"/>

Source:UT Southwestern Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Genetically Modified Natural Killer Immune Cells Attack, Kill Leukemia Cells
2. Natural Killers Could Lead to New Hepatitis Treatments
3. Natural tumor suppressor in body discovered by UCSD medical researchers
4. Naturally occurring asbestos linked to lung cancer
5. Natural compound from pond scum shows potential activity against Alzheimers
6. Natural selection at single gene demonstrated
7. Natural vitamin E tocotrienol reaches blood at protective levels
8. Natural pine bark extract relieves muscle cramp and pain in athletes and diabetics
9. Natural protein stops deadly human brain cancer in mice
10. Natural polyester makes new sutures stronger, safer
11. Natural gut hormone offers hope for new obesity drug

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. Mohamed Anwar and ... international IAIR Award for the most innovative high security ePassport and eGates  ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller General, Mr. Mohamed Anwar ... right) have received the IAIR award for the "Most innovative high security ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and ... Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. Continue ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... of Sciences today announced the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 ... given annually by the Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development ... patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions ... new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but ... do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, ... its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, ... that The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... will use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify ... high-risk trial known as MUK nine . The University ... this trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: