Washington: Researchers at St. Jude Children`s Research Hospital have discovered that a protein used by cancer cells to evade death also plays a vital role in heart health.This dual role complicates efforts to develop cancer drugs that target the protein, but may lead to new therapies for heart muscle damage.The protein, MCL1, is currently the focus of widespread cancer drug development efforts.MCL1 is best known as an inhibitor of death via the cell`s suicide pathway in a process called apoptosis.The protein is elevated in a variety of cancers, and a number of MCL1 inhibitors are in the cancer drug development pipeline worldwide.The protein has also been linked to drug resistance in cancer patients. Until now, however, MCL1`s role in heart muscle cells was unclear.
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