Pancreatic cancer begins when cells start to multiply uncontrollably and form a mass, they can even invade other parts of the body. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly diseases worldwide; around 46% of patients who went through the surgery have a high chance of getting pancreatic cancer again.
Protein Helping In Development Of Cancer Cells
There are 2 most common types of pancreatic cancer i.e. pancreatic adenocarcinoma and Ampullary cancer; the less common type cancers include adenosquamous carcinomas, squamous cells carcinomas, and signet ring cells carcinomas.
Pancreatic cancer is the reason for about 7 percent of cancer deaths and accounts for around 3 percent of all cancers in the United States. The rate of survival is around 34 percent for stage 1 and around 3 percent for stage 4.
A recent research which was published on May 7, 2021, in Science Advances led by a scientist Dr. Marianne Koritzinsky of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre stated that pancreatic cancer cells are dependent on a protein called peroxiredoxin 4 (PRDX4) in most of the patients.
The PRDX4 is an antioxidant enzyme and it belongs to the peroxiredoxin family and is linked to inflammatory diseases & aging. The pancreatic cells survive on the PRDX4 and hence the protein can be used against the cells to kill them.
It’s been known for decades that cancer cells acquire key changes in their metabolism to support their continuous need for building blocks from nutrients to divide and grow faster, explains Dr. Koritzinsky, the senior author of the study, Associate Professor in the Departments of Radiation Oncology, Medical Biophysics.
Dr. Koritzinsky also discovered previously that high levels of NADPH present in the pancreatic cancer cells created a novel form of oxidative stress for PRDX4 to survive. The cancer cells need PRDX4 to destroy the by-products that are toxic and are the result of uncontrolled metabolism.
Dr. Koritzinsky also said that cells targeting PRDX4 have effects like DNA damage, cell death, etc. and the impact of the loss of PRDX4 on the other normal cells is still unknown. “It’s not hard to kill cancer cells; it’s hard to kill cancer cells without harming the cancer patient,” Said Dr. Koritzinsky. The research was based on the assessment of 20,000 different types of proteins and their role in helping the growth of cancer cells.
The PRDX4 was found out playing the key role. Dr. Koritzinsky said that Based on the discoveries made, she would like to develop new drugs against PRDX4 that could be tested in preclinical models, and eventually translated to the clinic.
She also adds that there may be other ways to take advantage of these new biological insights, including combining this targeted approach with other DNA damaging treatments such as radiotherapy and establishing biomarkers that can identify the patients who will benefit from PRDX4 targeting.
This discovery can play a very crucial role in fighting the battle against pancreatic cancer and can save many lives. It would not only help in fighting cancer but also many other areas.