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Promising strategy for treatment of lung cancer
Date:3/29/2010

A research team at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown in a study that two closely related enzymes could be targets for the treatment of lung cancer. The discovery was made when the researchers blocked the production of the two enzymes in transgenic mice. This resulted in inhibition of cell growth, fewer tumours and greater survival among the mice.

The article is being published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). With many types of cancer, the growth and spread of tumours is stimulated by Ras and Rho proteins. For these proteins to function, they need to be modified by the closely related enzymes FT and GGT. A number of pharmaceutical companies have therefore developed substances that reduce the activity of these two enzymes with the aim of inhibiting the function of Ras and Rho proteins and so slowing the development of the disease.

However, treatment with various substances to block these two enzymes has often been non-specific, and their efficacy has varied widely. This has made it difficult for researchers to assess the true potential of these enzymes as targets for medicines.

"We therefore developed genetic strategies in mice, known as transgenic mice, to switch off the genes coding for FT and GGT, enabling us to investigate whether a complete blockade of FT or GGT can inhibit the development of lung cancer, and whether this has side-effects in the lungs," explains researcher Anna-Karin Sjgren, who led the study together with Meng Liu, both from the Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine.

In their study, the researchers used transgenic mice which produce a mutated Ras protein that causes lung cancer. First, production of FT or GGT in these mice's lungs was stopped by switching off the relevant genes.

"When we turned off the FT gene, the mice developed fewer lung tumours and lived longer," says Meng Liu. "At cellular level, the blockade of F
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Contact: Anna-Karin Sjgren
anna-karin.sjogren@wlab.gu.se
46-031-342-4723
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert

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