Researchers Find New Insight Into Brain Cancer and Parkinson's Disease

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the Cancer Therapy Advisor take:

Although long-term survival in neurons means proper brain function as people get older, long-term survival in brain cancer cells means tumor growth and spreading. According to a study published in Science Signaling, the protein PARC/CUL9 promotes long-term survival in neurons and brain cancer cells by overriding the biochemical mechanisms that lead to apoptosis, also known as cell death, in other cells. 

 

This discovery indicates that brain cancer cells hijack the same mechanism that neurons do in order to prolong their survival, which opens up further research for brain cancer treatments and Parkinson’s disease, a prevalent neurodegenerative disease. 

 

Senior author Mohanish Deshmukh and researchers at University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that PARC and Parkin, a mutated protein in Parkinson’s disease, are very similar. Researchers conducted experiments in cell cultures and animal models. They damaged mitochondria, which usually releases cytochrome c, a protein that activates the biochemical mechanism leading to cell death. However, researchers found that PARC/CUL9 impeded apoptosis by degrading cytochrome c. 

 

Since researchers wanted to further study this process in Parkinson’s disease, they used mouse models, but the mice did not share most of the hallmark symptoms that human patients with Parkinson’s disease has. 

 

They will continue their research on Parkinson’s disease with new models and will study PARC as a target for cancer treatment as well.

Researchers Find New Insight Into Brain Cancer and Parkinson's Disease
Researchers Find New Insight Into Brain Cancer and Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered that the protein PARC/CUL9 helps neurons and brain cancer cells override the biochemical mechanisms that lead to cell death in most other cells. Vivian Gama, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Deshmukh's lab, led the experiments in cell cultures and animal models.

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