Research

Protein That Can Block Prostate Cancer

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A study by researchers from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson says that the “longevity” protein SIRT1 can inhibit the development of a known precursor to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer precursor is known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. (PIN). This study could lead to new cancer prevention drugs that could not only block prostate cancer but promote longevity. The study found that deletion of the Sirt1 gene, known for its life-spanning effects, in mice resulted in PIN lesion formation associated with reduced autophagy, which is the necessary degradation of a cell’s own components and most likely essential for tumor suppression. Results of the study provide a direct link for the first time between the onset of prostate cancer and the Sirt1 gene that regulate aging. The results suggest that the Sirt1 gene promotes autophagy and further highlight the role of the protein SIRT1 (the human homologue of the yeast Silent Information Regulator 2 (Sir2) gene) as a tumor suppressor in the prostate.

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