May, 2017 |22
Studies in mice with the KRAS mutation, which is present in 90 per cent of pancreatic cancer patients, indicate that expressing only half the amount of the glucose-regulated protein GRP78 is enough to halt the earliest stage of pancreatic cancer development.
This study suggests that GRP78 is required for converting healthy pancreatic cells into potentially cancerous cells. As such, reducing the amount of this protein works to delay pancreatic cancer development.
“Cancer cells are addicted to high levels of GRP78 for cancer development and growth. Our hope is that partially reducing or inactivating the protein by therapeutic agents could one day be an effective complementary therapy for pancreatic cancer and other cancers, while sparing other healthy organs,” says Amy Lee, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the Keck School and the Judy and Larry Freeman Chair in Basic Science Research at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Quick facts: Pancreatic Cancer
In 2016, the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that:
• 5,200 Canadians would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
• 4,700 Canadians would die from pancreatic cancer.