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Study revises theory of how PTEN, a critical tumor suppressor, shuts off growth signals

Today, scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) publish new evidence explaining precisely how the protein encoded by PTEN (called PTEN) works — specifically, how it is recruited to particular locations in our cells where pro-growth signals need to be shut off. The new evidence, assembled by a team led by CSHL Associate Professor Lloyd Trotman, contradicts a long-held assumption about PTEN function, and could help scientists design more effective drugs to counteract cancer’s hallmark trait, uncontrolled cellular growth…

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New trick for ‘old’ drug brings hope for pancreatic cancer patients

Cancer Research UK scientists have found a new use for an old drug by showing that it shrinks a particular type of pancreatic cancer tumour and stops it spreading, according to researchpublished in Gut*. The scientists, at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute and the University of Glasgow, treated mice with pancreatic cancers caused by known genetic faults with the drug rapamycin**. Previous clinical trials did not find this drug to be effective as a treatment for pancreatic cancers when it was given to all patients with different forms of the disease. But the team’s findings show that a particular type of pancreatic tumour – caused by a fault in the gene PTEN, which is involved in cell growth – may be responsive to the drug after all. …

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Researchers identify rescuer for vital tumor-suppressor

"We discovered that the enzyme USP13 stabilizes the PTEN protein by reversing a process that marks various proteins for destruction by the cell’s proteasome," said the paper’s senior author Li Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor of Experimental Radiation Oncology. "USP13 also suppresses tumor formation and glycolysis though PTEN," Ma said. Glycolysis is a glucose metabolism pathway that tumors rely on to thrive and grow…

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Gene variant may provide novel therapy for several cancer types

This landmark study is published in the June 6, 2013 issue of the journal Science. Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of Oncological Sciences led the team that discovered a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene PTEN, which has subsequently been recognized as the second most common mutation in cancer, especially in breast, prostate, and brain cancers. PTEN encodes a 403 amino acid lipid phosphatase protein that is critical to cellular growth, proliferation, and survival…

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