Up to 100 potential drug targets for cancer discovered

In a massive breakthrough researchers have managed to uncover up to 100 potential drug targets for cancer

Researchers reveal that of these new drug targets for cancer, many could be employed for future treatment of different types of cancers and diseases. Researchers used mass spectrometry based proteomics to uncover a number of proteins which could play a critical role propagating signals within cells that can lead to uncontrolled cell growth – one of the hallmarks of cancer.

The study, which has been published in the internationally acclaimed scientific journal Cell Reports, was conducted using mouse fibroblast cells. Researchers behind the study believe the results may prove important to the development of new so-called tyrosine phosphatase-inhibiting drugs for patients suffering from different types cancer – for example Leukaemia – as well as other types of diseases such as Noonan syndrome.

The researchers focused on the protein communication and signalling that takes place inside the cells. Misregulation of protein signalling often leads to an increase in the production of tumours. By understanding the mechanisms and regulation of these signals, the researchers can specifically target the proteins responsible with drugs.

Using mass spectrometry proteomics to analyse the proteins of cells treated with various growth hormones in combination with advanced data analysis, the researchers discovered proteins that manipulate the communication processes inside the cells initiated by cell receptors and thus inhibit the development of cancer.

When inhibited the prominent protein tyrosine phosphatase called Shp-2 caught the researchers’ attention.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers knew of a handful of proteins which were regulated by Shp-2. However, using the mass spectrometry analyses the researchers discovered around 100 potential new targets, revealing a far more complexity than previously considered.

Now the researchers need to do further studies to determine the role and mechanisms of these proteins. They are already following up on their first results with human cells.