An exceptional discovery by Italian scientists in Padua is their research aimed at blocking the growth of cancer cells, especially in tumors that do not respond to any pharmacotherapy. In detail, researchers have found a sort of "motorcycle" of cancer that helps to breed cells responsible for cancer.
Cancer is a disease that leads cells to altered, hyperactive, irrational states of the tissues that carry them. All this will not happen in normal cells of healthy tissues. But what is behind what is "doping", that is conditions that guarantee cancer cells of unique "super-powers" as they always grow, do not respect the boundaries of a "good neighbor" with adjacent cells, escape control mechanisms that might remove? A team of Italian scientists put their finger on protein: Brd4,
Causes of cancer, according to experts from the University of Padova and dell'Ifom in Milan, are in the processes responsible for obtaining these states. Stefano Piccolo, Professor of Molecular Medicine, University of Padua, and director of the program of the biology of tissues and tumors at Ifom, has long been working with his team of scientists on what distinguishes the cancer cell from healthy. "To get to the roots of cancer," Piccolo explains, "we had to deal with the basic mechanisms that normal cells normally do, and make comparisons from here, understand what is wrong, switches that have been skipped and that have been turned off."
The Piccolo group has been on the track for two very similar genes, Yap and Taz, richly active in many tumors that arise in different organs. These genes seemed to fit perfectly with the "doping factor" identifier in cancer cells. Inactivation of these genes in fact has no implications for healthy tissue unless it is refractory to the development of cancer. "An interesting discovery. It is a shame that today it is not possible to produce drugs capable of affecting proteins such as Yap and Taz"Michelangelo Cordenons, co-founder of Piccolo, explains the article on this issue in Nature Medicine and needed to find a way around this problem.
"We have been able to understand," Cordenons said, "that we must study the intimate mechanisms of Yap and Taza, entering the nucleus where they check part of the genetic information. We had to photograph the whole cancer cell genome to find out where Yap and Taz are working, proteins that can cause a healthy cellular tumor. "
Scientists have found that Yap and Taz are linked to another protein, Brd4, which are necessary for the observation of the doping effects. By blocking experimental drugs by the Brd4 group, the group has shown how this strategy can be effective in combating cancer and, in particular, some forms resistant to drugs. The article on "Science" was over the next two weeks in the top spot among the most widely read. The first author of the work is a young researcher Francesco Zanconato and the research was supported by the airline Airc, the Italian Cancer Research Association.
"Unfortunately, drugs against Brd4 – warns Piccolo – are still experimental in humans, and the toxic effects are not yet fully known". However, the study suggests an innovative pathway that, in combination with other treatments, the authors' conclusions, promises development in the therapeutic field.