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3 May 2013

Scientists a step closer to new treatments for breast and melanoma cancers

Scientists have discovered how to manipulate a mutant protein to kill cancer

Scientists are a step closer to a new treatment for breast, colon and melanoma cancers after developing a novel method to disrupt a common cancer pathway that causes tumour growth.
The team at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has connected the cancer abnormality to a mutation gene known as PIK3CA, which results in a mutant protein that could be an early cancer switch.
Led by Dr John Wang, the researchers were able to disrupt the mutated signalling pathway to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, paving the way for potential new cancer therapies.
Published in the journal Cancer Cell, the findings are expected to impact on the field by focusing efforts on new targets for treating and preventing metastasis in patients with a variety of cancers.
Dr Wang explained: "If you turn on a light, you have to turn on a switch. But in the case of the mutation of this protein [it] turns on by itself. The mutation rewires the circuit and is uncontrolled."
However, by breaking the wires, the growth of the cancer can be controlled, Dr Wang added, which may lead to the discovery of less toxic drugs for the treatment of the disease.


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