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Indian plant could play key role in death of cancer cells

Date:
February 14, 2013
Source:
Georgia Health Sciences University
Summary:
Scientists have identified an Indian plant, used for centuries to treat inflammation, fever and malaria, that could help kill cancer cells.

Scientists at the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center have identified an Indian plant, used for centuries to treat inflammation, fever and malaria, that could help kill cancer cells.

Cancer cells typically avoid death by hijacking molecular chaperones that guide and protect the proteins that ensure normal cellular function and then tricking them into helping mutated versions of those proteins stay alive, says Dr. Ahmed Chadli, a researcher in the Molecular Chaperone Program at the GRU Cancer Center and senior author of the study named the Journal of Biological Chemistry's Paper of the Week.

Drug development has focused on the chaperone Hsp90 (heat shock protein 90) because it plays a key role in assisting mutated proteins, making it an attractive cancer drug target. However, the clinical efficacy of Hsp90 inhibitors has been disappointing. Most current small molecules targeting Hsp90 have inadvertently resulted in the expression of proteins that protect cancer cells from programmed cell death and compromise the Hsp90 inhibitors in the clinic.

In this study, however, Chaitanya Patwardhan, a graduate student in Dr. Chadli's lab, found that gedunin, an Indian plant compound, attacks a co-chaperone, or helper protein, of Hsp90 called p23.

"This compound binds directly to p23, leading to inactivation of the Hsp90 machine -- without production of anti-apoptotic proteins -- thus killing cancer cells," said Dr. Chadli. "The idea here is that this will open a door for new ways of targeting Hsp90 by targeting its helper proteins, which may be used in combination with established Hsp90 inhibitors that are ongoing clinical trials. In the future, this research could have applications in drug development for hormone-dependent cancers, including breast, prostate and endometrial cancers."

"One of the major areas of scientific emphasis of the GRU Cancer Center is to develop therapeutic approaches to cancer targeting specific molecules within the cancer cell, including chaperones," said Dr. Samir N. Khleif, Director of the GRU Cancer Center. "This finding is an important piece of the puzzle, bringing us closer to our goal of helping patients with cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Health Sciences University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. A. Patwardhan, A. Fauq, L. B. Peterson, C. Miller, B. S. J. Blagg, A. Chadli. Gedunin Inactivates the Co-chaperone p23 Causing Cancer Cell Death by Apoptosis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2013; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.427328

Cite This Page:

Georgia Health Sciences University. "Indian plant could play key role in death of cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130214092351.htm>.
Georgia Health Sciences University. (2013, February 14). Indian plant could play key role in death of cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130214092351.htm
Georgia Health Sciences University. "Indian plant could play key role in death of cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130214092351.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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