New protein that triggers breast cancer identified

January 15th, 2009 - 12:14 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 15 (ANI): A team of Canadian researchers has identified a new protein that is involved in the progression of breast cancer.

Researchers at the Universite de Montreal and the University of Alberta found that the protein ARF1 plays a critical role in cancer cell growth and the spread of tumours.

They suggest that targeting this protein with drug therapy may provide hope to women with breast cancer.

“Until now, ARF1 has been associated with harmless albeit important housekeeping duties of cells. The Universite de Montreal and the University of Alberta team is the first to characterize the role of ARF1 in breast cancer,” said senior author Audrey Claing, a professor of pharmacology at the Universite de Montreal.

The researchers used invasive breast cancer cell lines to study ARF1′’s role.

These cells are sensitive to a particular growth factor, called epidermal growth factor or EGF, which has previously been shown to stimulate tumour growth and invasion.

Their findings suggest that EGF works through ARF1 in these cells.

Also, when ARF1 activity was chemically blocked, breast cancer cell migration and growth was reduced.

On the other hand, when ARF1 was overproduced in these cells, their movement was enhanced.

“Taken together our findings reveal an unsuspected role for ARF1 and indicate that this small protein may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of invasive breast cancers,” said Dr. Claing.

The study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (ANI)

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