The protein p38gamma identified as a new therapeutic target in liver cancer - (ScienceDaily via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Study findings published in the journal Nature suggest that p38gamma, one of four types of p38 kinase, is essential for the initiation of cell division in liver cells, potentially making it a useful therapeutic target for liver cancer, reported ScienceDaily.

  • Researcher Guadalupe Sabio said "we are now developing inhibitors of this protein to test in this cancer."

  • Sabio noted that p38gamma also shares close similarities with another family of proteins called CDKs, regulators of cell division and the cell cycle that play a well-established role in the development of cancer.

  • In laboratory studies exploring this similarity to CDKs, the team found that an inhibitor of CDK2 also reduced the activity of p38gamma, and that p38gamma and CDK2 both act on a tumor suppressor protein that plays a central role in the regulation of the cell cycle.

  • To test whether p38gamma is implicated in cell division, study first author Antonia Tomás-Loba examined the outcome of chemically inducing liver cancer in mice that lack the enzyme.

  • According to Tomás-Loba, "in mice lacking p38gamma or treated with inhibitors to block its activity, the development of hepatocellular carcinoma was slowed."

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