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Researchers Discover Gene That Permanently Stops Cancer Cell Proliferation
The study was published in Cancer Research.
While investigating the basic mechanisms of genome integrity, the research team unexpectedly discovered an active mutant form of human Chk1, which is also a non-natural form of this gene. This mutation changed the protein conformation of Chk1 from the inactive form into an active form. The researchers discovered that, when expressed in cancer cells, this active mutant form of Chk1 permanently stopped cancer cell proliferation and caused cell death in petri dishes without the addition of chemotherapeutic drugs.
Future research at the School will consider two possible approaches to artificially activating Chk1 in cancer cells. One possibility is to deliver the active mutant form of Chk1 into cancer cells. The other possibility is to search for small molecules that can induce the same conformational change in Chk1 genes, so that the genes can be delivered into cancer cells to activate Chk1 molecules. Theoretically, the consequence of either approach would be the permanent inhibition of cell proliferation and cancer.
For more information, read the Case Western University news release.