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Study Reveals About a Key Protein Whose Absence Kills the Pancreatic Cancer Cells

May, 2021

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Scientists all over the world are hoping to find treatments for pancreatic cancer and this time they found a way to target the vulnerabilities of the pancreatic cancer cells to stop their growth.

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly form of cancer, which has a five year survival rate. Researchers from Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Canada are conducting a study on pancreatic cancer cells and how targeting its vulnerabilities affects the growth of these cancer cells. The researchers have targeted a specific key protein on, which the pancreatic cancer cells rely for their growth. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s scientists carried out their study on a main metabolite of cancer cells that is NADPH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate) as well as a key protein.  

Researcher’s findings stated that the pancreatic cancer cells have a high NADPH level as well as a huge amount of oxidative stress. However, the researchers found an antioxidant protein called as PRDX4, which was able to combat the effects of oxidative stress and enable the cells to survive. This led them to conclude that the pancreatic cancer cells are dependent on this protein for their survival. This conclusion seems to be an important step in the pancreatic cancer studies, as not much advancement has been reached in finding the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Scientists aim to leverage the fact that they have found the protein on which the pancreatic cells are highly dependent on for their survival. Thus, the scientists conducted a test, where they targeted the PRDX4 protein in patient’s pancreatic cancer cells by creating an accumulation of oxidative stress, which finally led to DNA damage and cell death. This technique worked successfully in impairing tumor growth in preclinical models, where they didn’t harm the normal cells. Scientists thus hope that the drugs that are developed to target PRDX4 protein could boost the future pancreatic cancer treatments. They are also planning to combine this technique with radiotherapy during their future clinical trials to treat pancreatic cancer.

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