Pancreatic Cancer Finds New Drug Target

A new target protein PPP1R1implicated in pancreatic cancers has been identified as a potential drug target because it is able to stop metastasis of tumors.

This new drug target discovered by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, U.S. is said to be capable of stopping the metastasis of fatal pancreatic cancers, according to the scientists is the first step in finding potential treatment for one of the deadliest cancers.

PPP1R1B drives metastasis of pancreatic cancer tumors. The findings of the research will lead on to drug screening studies that can identify PPP1R1B inhibitors. Leading to a successful and productive discovery of a drug that can save pancreatic cancer patients.

According to the study, pancreatic cancer is responsive to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). It is no news that pancreatic cancers are able to survive and withstand harsh conditions, this is because they are able to produce hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1A), in high magnitude. HIF1A is a gene activated by hypoxia and it actively stimulates tumour growth. Although studies for drugs that inhibit HIF1A are being conducted for the purpose of solving hypoxic cancers, the role of this gene in pancreatic cancer was unclear.

The study was able to create a mice model of pancreatic cancer tumours that do not produce HIF1A. The hypothesis was that removal of HIF1A would render the mice cancer free however, they discovered that these mice has more invasive and aggressive tumors with high metastasis and shorter survival times this led to further studies.

The researchers then found out the increased presence of the protein PPP1R1B, following removal of the genetic code, metastasis was reduced, this led to the suggestion that a drug capable of inhibiting the protein would stop the spread of pancreatic cancer.

It was discovered that tumor samples from patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer had increased levels of PPP1R1B, providing further evidence that the protein has therapeutic potential. PPP1R1B had also been found in high levels in colon, lung and prostrate cancers.

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