Scientists uncover potential drug target that could help eradicate cancer

ANI| Updated: Nov 09, 2013, 11:31 AM IST

Washington: Scientists have found an enzyme, Wip1 phosphatase, as a potential target to stop the progression of cancer.

Although studies in the past have revealed that this enzyme plays a critical role in regulating the budding of tumours, scientists have for the first time unearthed a mechanism for its mode of action.

Dr Dmitry Bulavin and his team at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), discovered that Wip1 phosphatase is a key factor that causes point mutations to sprout in human cancers.

These types of mutations stem from errors that are made during DNA replication in the body, causing one base-pair in the DNA sequence to be altered.

These mutations can cause cancers to take root, or to become resilient to treatment. By using drugs to inhibit the action of Wip1 phosphatase , cancer growth can be stunted and tumours can be cured without developing resistance.

This is a ground-breaking finding that sheds light on how mutations in cancer can potentially be wiped out with drugs, allowing cancers to be treated and eliminated effectively, preventing relapses of tumour growth.

The study has been published in the scientific journal, Cancer Cell.