A novel peptide that can act as a potent inducer of cancer cell death has been discovered by scientists. This finding may have significant implications for therapeutic agents used to treat cancer.
Researchers from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School suggested that the amphipathic tail-anchoring peptide, or ATAP, might provide more successful outcomes in cancer treatment than the BH3 peptide-based therapy currently used.
Recent advances in cancer research have focused on the use of peptides to initiate apoptosis, or the death of cancer cells. Bcl-2 homology domain-3 (BH3) peptides are potent therapeutic agents that are currently used in cancer treatment.
However, BH3-based therapy has some limitations, as cancer cells often acquire resistance to treatment by producing anti-apoptic proteins that inhibit this type of treatment.
In studying alternate strategies to induce cancer cell death, the researchers discovered that ATAP was unaffected by anti-apoptic proteins and could successfully induce the death of cancer cells that are resistant to BH3-mediated therapy.
"Our study indicates that ATAP has a potential advantage over BH3 peptides as a therapeutic agent for cancer because it evades anti-apoptic proteins that cause cancer tumors to become resistant to therapy," said Jianjie Ma, lead author of the study.
The study was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.