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'Longevity' protein SIRT1 may ward off precursor to prostate cancer
Date:1/13/2011

PHILADELPHIAResearchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and two other institutions have discovered new evidence that suggests the "longevity" protein SIRT1, known for its life-spanning effects in different species, can inhibit the development of a known precursor to prostate cancer, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN).

Results from the study could lead to new cancer prevention drugs that could not only block prostate cancer but promote longevity.

The study, published in the February 1 issue of Cancer Research, found that deletion of the Sirt1 gene in mice resulted in PIN lesion formation associated with reduced autophagy, which is the necessary degradation of a cell's own components and most likely essential for tumor suppression.

"Prostate cancer is one of the malignancies that has a very direct relationship to aging," says Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Kimmel Cancer Center and Chairman of Cancer Biology at Thomas Jefferson University. "And these results provide a direct link for the first time between the onset of prostate cancer and the Sirt1 gene that regulate aging."

The results suggest that the Sirt1 gene promotes autophagy and further highlight the role of the protein SIRT1 (the human homologue of the yeast Silent Information Regulator 2 (Sir2) gene) as a tumor suppressor in the prostate. According to Dr. Pestell, "if you inactivate this gene, then you get the prostate cancer precursor, known as PIN. So it tells you that this 'longevity' gene is normally blocking prostate cancer."

Previous studies have found that SIRT1which was discovered about 15 years ago and found to have various life-spanning effects in yeasts, worms, mice and possibly humanscan both inhibit tumor growth in certain cancers as well as promote it by inactivating the tumor suppressor p53, but its role in regulating prostate gland development and androgen signaling in vivo was unknown.

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Contact: Steve Graff
215-955-5291
Thomas Jefferson University
Source:Eurekalert

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