After a decade of research, researchers have found a key to the metastasis of cancer, Academia Sinica said yesterday.
In 2018, Institute of Biomedical Sciences research fellow Jou Yuh-shan (周玉山) and postdoctoral researcher Lan Yao-tung (藍耀東), among others, discovered that the gene paraspeckle component 1 (PSPC1) is associated with cancer metastasis, the institute said.
Now they have gained a deeper understanding of the connection, it said, adding that they believe the abnormal expression of PSPC1 could turn proteins in cells “from heroes to villains,” and cause a series of carcinogenic effects, including cancer cell metastasis.
Photo: Wu Liang-yi, Taipei Times
PSPC1 can control the passage of proteins between the nucleus and cytoplasm, Jou said.
In normal nuclei, the enzyme tyrosine-protein kinase 6 (PTK6) usually controls PSPC1 and prevents cells from becoming cancerous, he said.
However, once the PSPC1 gene is produced in large amounts or a mutation occurs, PTK6 no longer interacts with PSPC1 and instead moves inside the cytoplasm itself and becomes a “villain” with a carcinogenic effect, Jou said.
A clinical study found that PSPC1 was overly expressed in 60 to 70 percent of solid cancer patients, he said.
The new research could be used to predict the possibility of a tumor becoming worse by detecting the level of expression of the 523 mutation point, Jou said, adding that it could also help develop anti-cancer inhibitors.
There are many different types of cancer and each develops differently, Jou said.
This is why there are so many types of cancer medications, as each responds to different types of cancer, he said.
For example, PSPC1 is only overly expressed in 60 to 70 percent of solid cancers, he added.
In cases of non-solid cancer, such as various types of blood cancer, the development of the cancer would be different, Jou said, adding that a generalization cannot be made.
The research by Jou and others was last month published in the journal Nature Communications, the institute said.
They have applied for patents in several nations, it said, adding that they hope their research would contribute to the development of new cancer treatments and drugs.
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