Queen's University

Blocking protein could slow spread of cancer

 
2012-05-11

New research by Dr. Peter Greer and colleagues in the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute and the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine could ultimately impact the methods used to treat cancer patients.

Their research shows that blocking expression of a protein called calpain in breast cancer cells reduced tumor growth by interfering with cancer cell proliferation.

“We are excited about these findings because they justify further research aimed at determining exactly how calpain participates in cancer cell proliferation, as well as other processes that determine whether cancer cells survive or die in the face of currently used therapeutic drugs” says Dr. Greer.

Ultimately, they hope that addition of calpain inhibitors to existing therapies will reduce the chances of cancer cells surviving current treatments, proliferating and moving to other parts of the body and growing into life threatening tumours.

Dr. Greer’s group also intends to explore using this strategy to treat other types of cancers, including lung, prostate and colon cancer.  Other research suggests calpain inhibition could provide benefit in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

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