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km23-1 protein is linked to CRC cell’s capacity to invade other cells

km23-1 protein is linked to CRC cell’s capacity to invade other cells  A new study from Penn State’s College of Medicine may lead to new treatments of colorectal cancer (CRC).  Professor Kathleen Mulder believes that the km23-1 protein is used in the cancer cell’s ability to move out of a tumour in the early stages of invasion.

Professor Mulder went on to comment, “km23-1 may be able to help in this process due to its role in the assembly of large groups of proteins favourable to cancer invasion.”

The amount of km23-1 available in cells was limited, which allowed the research team to learn how it affected cell behaviour.  A reduction in km23-1 caused a decrease in the production of TGF-beta – which helps prevent cancer growth in healthy cells.

Yet in cancer cells, km23-1 contributes to the spread of tumours.  By limiting the km23-1 protein, the activity of other proteins which lead to TGF-beta production is reduced.

The team also found that cells with lower amounts of km23-1 have less amounts of a protein that is associated with the spread of cancer.  By reducing the levels of km23-1, bowel cancer cells cannot spread as much.

Professor Mulder proposes that, “if we can block km23-1, we can stop the spread of colon cancer earlier.  But we would also affect other important functions of the protein.  In order to address this issue, we are now trying to find the specific partners of km23-1 that contribute to the invasion of the cancer cells.  Then we can design more precise therapeutic agents that target critical regions of km23-1 rather than eliminating the entire protein.”

With CRC being the third most common cancer worldwide, this is a welcome development.  It is estimated that over 40,000 people shall die from the disease in the U.S this year alone, with the same figure of cases being diagnosed in the UK in 2010.

References: www.medicalnewstoday.com, www.cancerresearchuk.org and http://seer.cancer.gov

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The Randox KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA Array has been designed for rapid and qualitative detection of point mutations within the KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA genes which are implicated in metastatic CRC therapy response.  For more information, visit the Biochip Molecular Diagnostics section of the website.

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