A team has recently found an important molecule that helps mix and match the genetic content present within the cells and, in turn, pave ways for newer target protein therapies so as to fight cancer’s diversity and evolution. The researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research have found 3D structure and function of mix and match protein to help manage the process connected with cancer’s progression and resistance to drugs. The study could help understand drug-resistant cancers better. The work will be carried out at the £75 million new Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery. The molecule named DHX8 is a class of proteins that deals with alternative splicing and is found to have an impact on 95% of the human genes.
Once the DNA code is copied into RNA is when the splicing takes place by cutting out certain pieces and sticking the rest to create a final code that can be translated into protein. The alternative splicing helps create varied proteins from just a single gene and thus, bring about diversity in the proteins available in the cells. Any mistake in alternative splicing can result in a change in the proteins within the cells and lead to cancer’s drug resistance, diversity, and evolution. The human DHX8 protein attaches to RNA and unravels RNA from the rest of the splicing machinery. They found the DEAH motif, hook turn, and hook loop regions in the DNA to play vital role in contributing to cancer. This new molecule of alternate splicing can help researchers shed new light on the structure and function of a crucial protein involved in the process of alternative splicing wherein the genetic information is mixed and matched to create a protein using a single gene.
On a parallel note, the researchers have found a new blood test that can identify circulating tumors to help detect prostate cancer and let go of the biopsies and other treatments. Dr. Yong-Jie Lu from the Barts Cancer Institute of Queen Mary University has found the new blood test combined with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to yield a diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer that is more than 90% accurate.