'On-off' switch identified for key factor in cancer and heart disease

7th April 2011

Scientists at the University of Hull have identified a cellular 'on-off' switch which could have wide implications for the treatment of cancer and heart problems.

This new discovery involves a mechanism which regulates the amount of the tissue factor protein which is released into endothelial microparticles in the body. If it is working correctly the right amount is released to aid healing through clotting. If too much is released, however, it can form irregular blood vessels.

The process is controlled by two tandem amino acids, which effectively say when and how much tissue factor should be released into the microparticles.

Scientists how now discovered that this process can be artificially controlled by blocking the amount of phosphate molecules which activate the process.

Lead researcher Dr Camille Ettelaie said: "This project focused on the vascular system and is helpful in controlling thrombosis, but tissue factor is also released in microparticles from cancer cells and linked to cell proliferation – so our findings could have implications for treating cancer as well."

Candidates vying for a vote in the race for the Welsh Assembly this week laid out their plans for hoe they would help patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Posted by Philip Briggs

Ettelaie, Dr Camille. "Regulation of the Incorporation of Tissue Factor into Microparticles by Serine Phosphorylation of the Cytoplasmic Domain of Tissue Factor". Journal of Biological Chemistry. April 8 2011

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