Flipping a Switch on Tumor Cell Growth
Compound could put brakes on protein that controls spread of cancer
THURSDAY, March 31, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Manipulating a natural tumor-suppressing compound within cancer cells could be like flipping a switch to stop tumor growth, researchers say.
The compound -- PH domain Leucine-rich repeat Protein Phosphatase -- goes by the acronym PHLPP or, as the scientists pronounce it, "flip." PHLPP is located on chromosome 18 and deletes a specific phosphate molecule that, in turn, interrupts signaling from the Akt protein that controls both the death and growth of cancer cells.
"A drug that turns on PHLPP, so that it suppresses cell growth caused by Akt, could be a potential cancer therapy," study lead author Alexandra C. Newton, professor of pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
The findings appear in the April 1 issue of the journal Molecular Cell.
It was already known that Akt is critical in regulating cell growth and death and that Akt is linked to some of the most common forms of cancer. But no one has been able to find a way to turn off Akt once it's been activated.
"Currently there are no compounds identified to directly stop Akt from causing cancer growth, once Akt signaling has been initiated," Newton said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about cancer.