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Enzymes are target for lung cancer treatment

6 April 2010

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Category: Research & medical benefits

mouse–mice–lab.jpg‘Switching off' certain enzymes helps reduce tumours in mice, research has shown.

Tumour growth is stimulated by the proteins Ras and Rho. For these proteins to function they need two enzymes: FT and GGT. Now a team of scientists have found that turning off the enzymes are more effective than using drugs to reduce enzyme activity.

They discovered this by studying mice with genes engineered to switch off the production of FT and GGT. When FT was turned off mice developed fewer tumours as the cancerous cells were unable to divide. Consequently there was an increased survival rate. Similar results followed when GGT was switched off instead. Lastly they turned off both enzymes together and saw a sharp decline in number of lung tumours and a higher overall survival rate.

Previous studies have shown drugs which target FT and GGT to have mixed results and researchers believe switching off the genes which produce the enzymes would be more efficient. Results have revealed this treatment to have no toxic side effects on the lungs. The next step for scientists is to see if switching off the enzymes may have any effects on other tissues.