Scientists from Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) have identified what they called a 'Pied Piper' molecule that can offer a key in treating prostate, breast and colon cancers as well as leukemia.
The molecule within blood cells, called Liar, leads other molecules into the nucleus of the cell.
AdvertisementAssociate Professor Ingley said the findings were a leap forward in the understanding of how blood cells develop and divide, which could offer them a key to turning off cancerous cell growth.
"Liar is like a key, which opens a pathway into the nucleus of a blood cell for a number of other molecules, allowing them to flow in - and these molecules are what signal the cell to develop and divide," he said.
"From here, if we could control Liar, the hope is that we could use it to switch off the growth of abnormal, or cancerous, cells.
"Because Liar is present in every blood cell, this knowledge could help treat a huge range of conditions and diseases, but where it has most potential is in cancers of the prostate, breast, colon and blood where activity of the enzyme Lyn is heightened," he added
The cellular enzyme Lyn acts as a switch that 'turns on' blood cell development.
"We could see Lyn had a big influence on blood cell development, so to understand how it works, we looked at what it interacts with and the effects it has," said Professor Ingley.
"What we then saw was Lyn interacting with Liar, and noticed it also interacted with other molecules that signal the cell to behave a certain way.
"Now we have identified Liar and Lyn and we know what they do, we'll be looking at them more closely to find out how they may have the potential to help treat cancers," he added.
The study appears in journal Blood.
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