Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Natural Antiviral Enzyme Helps Keep Cancer Cells Alive

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Natural Antiviral Enzyme Helps Keep Cancer Cells Alive

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

A molecule that cells normally use to fight viruses is also involved in keeping cancer cells alive. The antiviral molecule, called TBK-1, was found to be essential for cancer cells to live, so blocking it might point to a treatment for fighting cancer.

Dr. Michael White, Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, explains: "We got the surprise that this mechanism is involved in cancer cell survival, even though it is normally involved in immune response. We found something a little bit different--an Achilles' heel of cancer cells that is apparently broadly conserved among many types of solid tumors."

Using cultured human cells, the researchers set out to study enzymes known to be involved in keeping cancer cells alive and proliferating. They soon narrowed the focus to one called RalB. This molecule is part of the Ras family of enzymes, which are mutated in 30 percent of all cancers and in 90 percent of pancreatic cancers. …

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