Thursday, April 14, 2016

Development of Enzyme Inhibitor Leads to Potential Anti-Cancer Drug

Researchers have uncovered the potential for a new cancer drug that is capable of reducing the cancerous inflammation that results from Chemotherapy treatments. A study lead by Brian Capell at University of Pennsylvania demonstrates how inhibiting an enzyme that is responsible for epigenetic regulation can prevent the components of the  DNA damage response from activating. More specifically, the enzyme MLL1 regulates gene expression of the inflammatory compounds that are present in certain cancers and linked to tissue deterioration. This enzyme plays a critical role in DNA transcription by loosening the tension of histone proteins around the DNA so that the DNA can be easily read and translated into proteins. However, MLL1 is known for being prone to mutations in a number of human cancers. Therefore, researchers discovered that by inhibiting MLL1 results in the gene expression of inflammatory genes in cancer and aging cells to be blocked. Furthermore, they found that when MLL1 was inhibited the proliferation- promoting cell cycle genes were terminated along with the DNA damage response which in turn resulted in a decrease in inflammation. Brian Capell (2016) mentions how the "findings suggest that MLL1 inhibitors may be highly potent anti- cancer drugs through both direct epigenetic effects on proliferation- promoting genes, as well as through the inhibition of inflammation in the tumor microenvironment." Ideally, the findings through this study could potentially be applied to fighting cancer since inflammation within the cancerous tumors usually stimulate cancer growth. 

I think that through this discovery a new drug that acts as a MLL1 inhibitor could be created so that the inflammation caused by cancer and other Chemotherapy treatments can be decreased. Additionally, the findings from this study could also lead to future experiments that analyze the effects of MLL1 in other age- related diseases as well as different cancers. Since MLL1 plays a critical role in DNA transcription and translation, I wonder if there is any additional complications that occur when it is inhibited or if the inhibition causes other mechanisms involved in regulating gene expression to be effected. 

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