Protein involved in wound healing ‘could be used in cancer treatments’

13 May 2014

A protein involved in wound healing and tumour growth could be used to treat cancer, according to a study from the Jackson Laboratory.

The mechanisms that work to heal cuts can also go out of control and cause cancer. The research team believes that understanding these processes could lead to new ways of dialing back tumour growth.

By introducing mutations of rhomboid protease (iRhom2), the protein in question, researchers claim that the lifespan of the molecule can be extended and its wound healing powers increased. 

Scientists discovered that one of the protein’s variations, Rhbdf2, did not trigger the development of new tumours, but did contribute to the growth of those that were already present. 

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signal transduction also plays a major role in growth, proliferation and differentiation of the cells in our bodies. 

Lenny Shultz, lead author of the research, said: "[The study] provides a paradigm shift in our understanding of rhomboid enzymes and their emerging role in diverse biological functions. 

“Given their ability to regulate EGFR signaling in parallel with metalloproteases, iRhoms can be potential therapeutic targets in impaired wound healing and cancer."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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