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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Breast Cancer Trigger?
2 April 1997 8:00 pm
NEW YORK CITY--Scientists have discovered that malignant breast tumor cells have high levels of an enzyme that tells cells to divide. The finding, announced at a press conference here today and described in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could provide a promising target for anticancer drugs.
Pharmacologist Craig Malbon and his team at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, found that levels of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, an enzyme involved in cell division, were five to 20 times higher in biopsied human breast tumor cells than in healthy cells from the same patients or in cells from benign tumors.
MAP kinase acts like a switch: When a phosphate group is added to it, it gets turned on and spurs cells to divide. But in the malignant cells, the researchers found, the MAP kinase was in its activated form: "Most [MAP-kinase] molecules were already phosphorylated," says Stony Brook molecular endocrinologist Hsien-yu Wang. How MAP kinase gets stuck in the "on" position in breast cancer cells is a mystery. It's also unknown, Malbon says, whether other tumor types have elevated MAP-kinase levels.
"It's an important study" that adds "another intriguing piece of the puzzle," says Bruce Stillman, director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. He says drugs could be designed to inhibit MAP-kinase activity, which might interfere with tumor cell division. And if high enzyme levels are a hallmark of malignant cells, an assay for it in biopsied breast tissue could flag dangerous tumors.