Dr. Florian Weinberg, from Prof. Dr. Tilman Brummer’s research team at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Cell Research (IMMZ) of the University of Freiburg, joined forces with scientists from the Departments of Clinical Pathology and Medicine I of the University Medical Centre Freiburg and the Kinghorn Cancer Centre/Garvan Insitute in Australia in an global group that has recognized a new goal for cancer remedy.
Mechanism Of RIOK1
The researchers discovered that the enzyme RIOK1 collaborates with the RAS protein, which is often mutated in tumors and accordingly promotes tumor progression and the development of metastases. These secondary tumors are spread by the predominant tumor, if it isn’t eliminated in time, and are the cause of demise in most cancer sufferers. The researchers feel it may be possible to make use of so-called inhibitors to dam the enzymatic activity of RIOK1, thereby slowing down the disease’s progression. The group has recently released its findings in the translational journal EBioMedicine.
Cancers are characterised through gene mutations that cause the uncontrolled growth of the body cells. This can cause the progression of tumors. Most treatments combine surgical procedures with chemotherapy or radiation treatment, each of which are used to inhibit the quick growth of cells. Distinct inhibitors will also be used as a different or replacement treatment. These medicines inhibit the process of the harmful proteins and enzymes produced by mutated genes in tumors. Nevertheless, there are presently only very few approaches to especially treat RAS-driven tumors. Given that roughly 30 percent of all cancer sufferers have a Ras mutation of their tumors, there’s a need to look for new ways to target RAS.
The scientists studied the growth of human RAS-mutated lung-, breast-, and colorectal cancer cells in cell and animal models. In each case, they were in a position to genetically alter the cells, so that they cannot produce RIOK1, a method that mimics the results of a developing RIOK1 inhibitor.
By this technique, the authors were capable to curb the growth and aggressiveness of the cancer cells. Especially in the animal models, the researchers observed that the modified cells were not able to have metastases.
RIOK1 belongs to the enzyme family of protein kinases for which inhibitors are already successfully used in cancer treatment. For that reason, the scientists believe that equivalent substances inhibiting the enzymatic activity of RIOK1 could be developed in the near future. Furthermore, RIOK1 might be used to predict the progression of lung and breast cancer more effectively, as the researchers found a greater production of RIOK1 in the tumor tissue of sufferers who had a poorer prognosis.
The researchers commented that more studies are needed to verify RIOK1 as a goal for melanoma therapy, nonetheless. It will be important, for example, to comprehend the specified mechanism through which the enzyme helps cancer grow and metastasize. It is usually important that inhibitors be tested first on model organisms earlier than the medicinal drugs be validated in trials. The researchers’ initial experiences on roundworms and human cells have confirmed that healthy body cells are both in part affected or no longer affected at all by the lack of RIOK1, considering that they do not depend on the enzyme. This is able to imply that, at the same time, cancer cells could be inhibited from growing and from spreading new tumors.