New Way to Destroy Cancerous Cells Discovered

by Tanya Thomas on Jun 9 2010 10:48 AM

Scripps Research Institute scientists have discovered a whole new way to target and destroy a certain type of cancerous cell.

The finding may lead to the development of new therapies to treat lymphomas, leukemias, and related cancers.

The study, which appears in the June 10, 2010 edition of the journal Blood, showed in animal models the new technique was successful in drastically reducing B cell lymphoma, a cancer of immune molecules called B cells.

"[The method] worked immediately," said Scripps Research Professor James Paulson, who led the research. "We are very interested in moving this technology forward to see if it would be applicable to treatment of humans and to investigate other applications for this kind of targeting."

In his research program at Scripps Research, Paulson has studied glycoproteins, which are proteins decorated with sugars, for many years. While these molecules have traditionally proven challenging to understand, limiting their pharmaceutical applications, Paulson has pioneered new techniques to study and manipulate these enigmatic molecules.

In the research, Paulson and his colleagues applied some of the lab's insights to a problem with great medical relevance-finding a new way to target and destroy cancer cells.