Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Can Cancer Be Turned Against Itself?

Thanks to the work of Professor Yoel Kloog and his colleagues at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurology, it seems that a small group of proteins, oncogenic Ras, contributes to human cancers. They may also be able to alert our immune system to their presence.

Ras is a protein that promotes cell division when a growth factor is present on the cell surface. In cellular division, mutated Ras can be detected in one-third of all tumors and contribute to human cancers.

Researchers have shown the transfer of oncogenic Ras in human cells from melanoma cells to T cells allows the immune cells to fight/develop cytokinesis, signal molecules, and kill the melanoma cells. The immune system will kill some cancerous cells. When the disease becomes dangerous, the immune system cannot keep cancer cells in balance.


1 comment:

  1. Ras must be whats known as a co-receptor. Basically it "specializes" the growth factor protein that binds to a receptor to a particular function. Another example of a co-receptor in cancer is NRP-1 or neuropilin-1. This specializes the growth factor into working with the nervous system. Ras happens to focus on a more general, yet still specialized area, cell division.