Researchers from National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) and Taipei Medical University (TMU) yesterday said they discovered that the antidepressant bupropion can be used as an anti-metastasis drug for triple-negative breast cancer.
Cell and animal experiments have confirmed the finding, an NCTU team said at a news conference in Hsinchu, where the school is based.
Researchers are in the process of applying for patents in several countries, they added.
Photo: Hung Mei-hsiu, Taipei Times
Biopsies of cancer cells and tissues confirm that nicotine receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) proteins form close connections, a TMU team said.
Nicotine causes HER2 proteins to separate from their structures, causing more carcinogenic activity, the team said.
Bupropion is a nicotinic receptor antagonist.
The results of the study, which was completed by drug design and systems biology teams at NCTU’s College of Biological Science and Technology and TMU’s breast cancer research team, were published in the online journal Nature Communications on July 16, NCTU said.
The report is titled “Membrane protein-regulated networks across human cancers.”
Team members included NCTU College of Biological Science and Technology professor Yang Jinn-moon (楊進木) and assistant professor Lin Chun-yu (林峻宇); Academia Sinica’s Wu Yan-hwa (吳妍華); and TMU College of Medical Science and Technology professor Ho Yuan-soon (何元順) and assistant professor Lee Chia-hwa (李嘉華), NCTU said.
Membrane proteins are recognized as being closely related to many types of cancer, Yang said.
Figuring out how membrane proteins regulate biochemical pathways through protein-protein interactions, leading to the development of cancer, would help researchers in their search for a cure for cancer, he said.
This would have huge implications for the development of cancer diagnoses and targeted drugs, he added.
For the study, researchers used big data and artificial intelligence to analyze large-scale cancer gene expression maps, and designed regulatory networks for nearly 2,000 types of different kinds of membrane proteins in 15 types of cancer to explore the roles membrane proteins play in different cancers, and their importance, the NCTU team said.
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