Zolkiewska said this raises the questions of whether the gene's mutation in cancer tissue is purely a coincidence or is part of a larger role. Prior research by the team indicates ADAM12 is a "good guy" since mutation to the gene effectively kills ADAM12 protein.
"A tumor wants to grow, and from the point of view of the tumor, you want to invade and kill the patient. So you will first take care of those good guys, or those policemen inside the body who protect the patient," Zolkiewska said. "If ADAM12 is one of those good guys, the growing tumor wants to take it out of the picture."
This discovery of mutation rendering ADAM12 dead was a scientific first by the K-State team.
Zolkiewska recently was awarded a three-year grant of $444,000 from the National Institutes of Health to further the research. The grant's title is "Structure-Function Analysis of Breast Cancer-Associated Mutations in ADAM12."
Assisting Zolkiewska in the research are Sara Duhachek Muggy, Manhattan, a graduate student in biochemistry, and Hui Li, who is conducting postdoctoral work. Zolkiewska credited a large portion of the team's findings to Emilia Solomon, Los Alamos, N.M., a December 2009 biochemistry doctoral graduate.
|SOURCE Kansas State University|
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