New Blood Protein Discovery: May Lead to Anti-Tumor Drug

April 1, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The results of a study recently published by researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, shows great promise for the development of both a new anti-tumor drug, inhibiting blood vessel growth, as well as a wound healing treatment, which does just the opposite of promoting the growth of nourishing blood vessels. This promising new study was just published in the new issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal.

Scientists have long known that stopping the growth of blood vessels is key to preventing tumor growth. During a study where researchers injected mice with prostate cancer cells, it was discovered that a protein called ferritin, which speeds up tumor growth, binds to a tumor inhibitor protein called, Hka stopping it in its tracks.

Researchers then reached a “light bulb flash moment,” when they realized if they could stop the binding process, they could let loose Hka, the tumor inhibitor protein to stop the growth of cancerous tumors. The researchers see promise for the theory as a wound healing treatment as well, by flooding a patient with ferritin, the protein which increases blood vessel growth, which is lacking in patients with suppressed immune systems.

Based on these findings, The Wake Forest research team secured a grant from the National Institutes of Health to begun work on developing a new anti-tumor drug. If the researchers are successful in developing the new protein-blocker drug, this would add another weapon in the cancer fighting arsenal of new treatments.

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