involves new growth formation and spread of cancer cells to distant sites.
- Inducing proteins involved in cancer progression to remain
stored as amyloid bodies, renders cancer cells inactive.
and spread of cancer can be prevented as long as the proteins remain as amyloid
- This may have potential therapeutic applications
in the future.
Cancer cells could be made dormant or
inactive by causing the proteins involved in its growth and spread, to be
stored within the cells as amyloid bodies. This forms the basis of a study by
researchers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami
Miller School of Medicine.
Outline of the Study
‘Inducing proteins involved in cancer progression to stay stored as amyloid bodies, renders cancer cells dormant, and could have possible therapeutic applications.’
bodies have been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurological diseases such
and Parkinson's disease
. However, their
involvement in the growth and spread of cancer remain largely unknown. The
findings of this study open up a new avenue in the therapy of various types of
cancers by employing the insight and evidence gained in the field of
neuroscience to tumor biology.
Molecular Processes Involved in Amyloid Protein
processes have been identified within cells, one promoting amyloid protein
the other causing breakdown of the amyloid protein structure.
amyloid state of protein organization is typically associated with debilitating
human neuropathies and rarely observed in physiology," said Stephen Lee,
Ph.D., director of the Tumor Biology Program at Sylvester, professor of
biochemistry and molecular biology at the Miller School, and corresponding
author of the study. "Yet, we found that a large number of proteins are stored as amyloid bodies in cancer cells
that are dormant
. The heat shock
chaperone pathway can disaggregate the amyloid bodies and turn the dormant
cancer cells into active, progressing cancer cells
researchers also discovered that ribosomal
intergenic noncoding RNA controlled the process of amyloid formation
cancer cells, making it a potential target for drug discovery and development.
"If we can stop the amyloid bodies from disaggregating in cancer cells,
the hope is that they will remain dormant indefinitely," said Lee.
"In addition, we may also be able to turn active cancer cells into dormant
ones by encouraging them to store the proteins as amyloid bodies."
has been shown to help cells remain viable during prolonged periods of
extracellular stress, underscoring the protective nature of the process, not
just in cancer cells.
About Amyloid Structure of Protein
of proteins disrupts critical cellular processes, leading to a wide range of
diseases. One such misfolding is the
aggregation of proteins from their soluble forms to insoluble fibrils, taking
the form of β-pleated sheets referred to as amyloid
. Once formed, these
fibrils can virtually not be destroyed. This explains the severe and
progressive neurodegenerative effects they produce in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
research is ongoing to develop treatments targeting amyloidogenesis in various
diseases, including cancer.
Scope of the Study Findings
most important takeaway from this study would be its potential therapeutic
application in various forms of cancer.
approach, we wouldn't necessarily rid the body of cancer cells, but we would
keep them inactive - shut off, if you will - and not allow them to become
active again," said Lee. "I am optimistic this could become a novel
way of treating cancer. There are already drugs on the market, and others are
being studied, that target the ribosomal intergenic noncoding RNA as well as
the heat shock chaperone pathway."