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  • Writer's pictureDavid S Klein, MD

Peptide that can induce cancer cell death

From the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine:

Researchers have created a peptide that binds to a protein, converting it from a cancer-promoting protein to a cancer-killing protein.

The Bcl-2 protein has long been known to protect cancer cells from programmed cell death, or apoptosis, a process that the body uses to destroy cancerous cells. Interest in Bcl-2 led Xiao-kun Zhang and colleagues at Burnham Institute for Medical Research to create a peptide called NuBCP-9 from a protein called Nur77, which is a potent pro-apoptotic (cell death-promoting) protein.  Both laboratory and animal studies showed that NuBCP-9 binds to Bcl-2, converting it into a pro-apoptotic protein, which induced cell death in cancer cells.

“Our results provide insight into Bcl-2 conversion and identify a new direction for Bcl-2-based drug leads and cancer drug development,” said Professor Zhang in a news release issued by Burnham Institute for Medical Research.

Kolluri SK, Zhu X, Zhou X, Lin B, Chen Y, Sun K, Tian X, Town J, Cao X, Lin F, Zhai D, Kitada S, Luciano F, O'Donnell E, Cao Y, He F, Lin J, Reed JC, Satterthwait AC, Zhang XK. A short Nur77-derived peptide converts bcl-2 from a protector to a killer. Cancer Cell. 2008;14:285-298.

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