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Breakthrough finds molecules that block previously ‘undruggable’ protein tied to cancer

The findings, which could lead to a new class of cancer drugs, appear in the current issue of ACS Chemical Biology. “These are the first reported small-molecule HuR inhibitors that competitively disrupt HuR-RNA binding and release the RNA, thus blocking HuR function as a tumor-promoting protein,” said Liang Xu, associate professor of molecular biosciences and corresponding author of the paper. The results hold promise for treating a broad array of cancers in people. The researcher said HuR has been detected at high levels in almost every type of cancer tested, including cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, brain, ovaries, pancreas and lung…

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Study uncovers mechanisms of cancer-causing mutations

While these mutations were known for quite a long time, the question as to why they cause cancer or make some drugs ineffective was still not answered. The study, called “Molecular Determinants of Drug-Specific Sensitivity for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Exon 19 and 20 Mutants in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” and published online in the journal Oncotarget, demonstrates how computer modeling of EGFR mutations found in lung cancer can elucidate their molecular mechanism of action and consequently optimize the selection of therapeutic agents to treat patients…

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Epigenetic breakthrough: A first of its kind tool to study the histone code

This work, published in the journal Developmental Cell, opens the door to experiments that are expected to uncover new biology important for a host of conditions, such as neurological diseases, diabetes, obesity, and especially cancer, which has become a hotbed of epigenetic research. “People think cancer is a disease of uncontrolled proliferation, but that’s just one aspect of it,” said Robert Duronio, PhD, professor of biology and genetics and co-senior author. “Cancer is actually a disease of development in which the cells don’t maintain their proper functions; they don’t do what they’re supposed to be doing.” Somehow, the gene regulation responsible for proper cell development goes awry. …

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Sequence of rare kidney cancer reveals unique alterations involving telomerase

The collaboration, a project of the National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Genome Atlas initiative, completed the sequence of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and published the results today in the journal Cancer Cell. “The Cancer Genome Atlas is a federally funded national effort that has already completed the sequence of many major types of cancer (breast, lung, ovarian, for example), but this project is now branching out to sequence more rare types of cancer,” said Dr. …

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Protein links liver cancer with obesity, alcoholism, hepatitis

In a new study, University of Iowa researchers have identified an unexpected molecular link between liver cancer, cellular stress, and these health problems that increase the risk of developing this cancer. The study, published Dec. 19 in the journal PLOS Genetics, shows that a protein called CHOP, which had previously been thought to generally protect against cancer, actually promotes liver cancer in mice and may do the same in humans. "Obesity, alcoholism, and viral hepatitis are all known independently to cause cellular stress and to induce expression of CHOP," says Thomas Rutkowski, Ph.D., assistant professor of anatomy and cell biology in the UI Carver College of Medicine and senior study author…

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Better guidelines, coordination needed for prostate cancer specialists

In an article published online today in the journal Urologic Oncology, urologist Ralph de Vere White and medical oncologist Primo Lara, Jr. of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center describe a framework for urology and medical oncology interactions to enhance patient care, improve outcomes and yield clinical research advances…

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