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Biophysicist Targets Protein As a Way to Stop Breast, Prostate Cancer

by Savitha C Muppala on April 23, 2011 at 5:23 PM
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 Biophysicist Targets Protein As a Way to Stop Breast, Prostate Cancer

An Ohio State biophysicist is putting his effort on a protein molecule Interleukin-6 (IL-6) to stop breast and prostate cancer.

Chenglong Li, used a supercomputer to search thousands of molecular combinations for the best configuration to block a protein that can cause breast or prostate cancer.

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Li Is leveraging a powerful computer cluster at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) to develop a drug that will block the small protein molecule Interleukin-6 (IL-6).

The body normally produces this immune-response messenger to combat infections, burns, traumatic injuries, etc. Scientists have found, however, that in people who have cancer, the body fails to turn off the response and overproduces IL-6.
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Based on the a series of investigations into IL-6 in the past to synthesize effective cancer drugs, Li recognized the potential of those initial insights and partnered last year with an organic chemist and a cancer biologist at OSU's James Cancer Hospital to further investigate, using an OSC supercomputer to construct malleable, three-dimensional color simulations of the protein complex.

"We proposed using computational intelligence to re-engineer a new set of compounds that not only preserve the original properties, but also would be more potent and efficient," Li said.

"Our initial feasibility study pointed to compounds with a high potential to be developed into a non-toxic, orally available drug," he added.While we didn't promise to have a drug fully developed within the two years of the project, we're making excellent progress," said Li.

"The current research offers us an exciting new therapeutic paradigm: targeting tumour microenvironment and inhibiting tumour stem cell renewal, leading to a really effective way to overcome breast tumour drug resistance, inhibiting tumour metastasis and stopping tumour recurrence," added Li.

Source: ANI
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