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New targeted therapy identified

Compound binds to and blocks Skp2, a protein that protects and nourishes cancer

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Compound binds to and blocks Skp2, a protein that protects and nourishes cancer

By Scott Merville

MD Anderson scientists who identified a protein’s dual role in cancer promotion have discovered a way to shut it down, opening a potential new avenue for treatment.

 Hui-Kuan Lin, Ph.D.

Reporting in the journal Cell, the researchers describe the first compound that directly binds to and blocks Skp2, a protein they previously showed both turns off a cellular defense against cancer and switches on a cancer-feeding metabolic pathway.

“The beauty of this study is we identified an inhibitor and showed how it functions to block Skp2. Inhibitors often are discovered without an initial understanding of how they work,” said co-senior author Hui-Kuan Lin, Ph.D., associate professor of Molecular and Cellular Oncology.

This research was funded by the MD Anderson Trust Scholar Award, MD Anderson’s Prostate SPORE grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (P50 CA140388) and its NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (CA 016672), a grant from the American Cancer Society, an MD Anderson Center for Targeted Therapy-The University of Texas at Austin/ Texas Institute for Drug and Diagnostics Development joint grant, a career development award from MD Anderson’s NCI Breast Cancer SPORE and a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Postdoctoral Fellowship Award to Chan.

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