New study shows repurposing leukemia drugs may prevent melanoma metastasis
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 26, 2018) ­­- Data from a new study led by University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers shows that repurposing drugs used to treat leukemia has promise for preventing melanoma metastasis.

Published in Science Signaling, the study showed new evidence linking the activation of ABL kinases – cancer-promoting genes – to the secretion of pro-metastatic cathepsins in melanoma. Cathepsins are enzymes that degrade proteins and are highly expressed in cancer cells, resulting in their release into the environment between the cells. These enzymes “chew up” the fibrous matrix around tumors, which allows them to get into the blood stream and lymphatic system and spread around the body.

Their work showed that ABL kinases induce cathepsin expression and secretion by increasing the activity of key transcription factors that upregulate numerous proteins involved in metastasis. Transcription factors bind to the regulatory part of genes and induce their expression. This study is the first to demonstrate that ABL kinases not only increase the abundance of the transcription factors, but also regulate the ability of these transcription factors to bind to the promoters and induce gene expression.

Lastly, the researchers found that ABL kinases inhibitors already approved by the Food

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