A Single Protein Could Unlock New Treatments For Brain Cancer

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New research shows the protein neurons use to stay alive and healthy is used by brain cancer cells to maintain longevity to grow and metastasize. The findings could lead to breakthroughs in treatments for brain cancer; they also provide new insight into how Parkinson’s disease, the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, destroys brain cells. The scientists discovered that a protein called PARC/CUL9 (or PARC) is the main inhibitor of cell death in the brain. Mitochondria release a chemical when they malfunction that initiates apoptosis, and the cell dies. Neurons, however, begin producing PARC, which degrades the chemical thereby extending the life of the cell. In neurons, this process preserves our ability to think clearly into old age. But PARC protects brain cancer cells as well as healthy brain cells. The researchers tested the effects of inhibiting PARC in a particular kind of cancer cells. As expected, the cancer cells were more susceptible to stress and damage. But they also saw that not all of the apoptosis chemical was degraded; therefore, they conclude other factors are also likely to be involved.

A Single Protein Could Unlock New Treatments For Brain Cancer
A Single Protein Could Unlock New Treatments For Brain Cancer
The same protein that keeps neurons alive and healthy also gives cancer cells the longevity to grow and spread, a team of researchers said Tuesday. The University of North Carolina announced the new findings, which are published in the journal Science Signaling, saying, "brain cancer cells ...
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