Two-faced proteins?

Proteins that both hinder and spur cancer progression may not be as uncommon as previously thought

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Cancer researchers are identifying an increasing number of proteins that have a dual nature when it comes to cancer -- they may initially promote the development of tumors, but in the long run make them less aggressive, or vice versa.
Image: Wikimedia commons
"There's just so many different things going on [in cancer] that it's not at all surprising to me that you come up with examples of proteins that hurt and help," cell biologist linkurl:James Bear; of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine told The Scientist. NEDD9, for example, is a scaffolding protein that supports tumor cell invasion and metastasis in many types of cancer. Accordingly, mice lacking the NEDD9 protein show delayed development of mammary tumors in mouse models of the disease. Late last year, however, linkurl:Erica Golemis; of the Fox Chase Cancer Center and her colleagues showed that...

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