Researchers turn cancer friend into cancer foe

October 8th, 2008 - 3:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) Burnham Institute scientists have created a peptide that binds to a protein Bcl-2 that protects cancer cells from programmed cell death, and converts it into a cancer cell killer. The Bcl-2 protein has long been implicated in protecting cancer cells from apoptosis, which means programmed cell death.

This peptide (called NuBCP-9) and its mirror-image molecule work on Bcl-2 like a molecular switch, converting it into a killer of of cancer cells, according to a Burnham press release. The study appeared in the Tuesday edition of Cancer Cell.

“Our results provide insight into Bcl-2 conversion and identify a new direction for Bcl-2-based drug leads and cancer drug development,” said Xiao-kun Zhang of Burnham Institute, who co-authored the paper with Arnold Satterthwait and others.

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