Loyola University research team led by an Indian-origin researcher claims to have discovered a novel protein that will help in developing treatments for breast cancer, prostate cancer and enlarged hearts.

When activated, the protein called RSK is involved in cell survival, cell proliferation and cell enlargement. These properties contribute towards cancer progression, heart enlargement and tumours associated with a genetic disease called Carney complex.

Loyola researchers have discovered that a regulatory protein binds to RSK. This regulatory protein effectively keeps RSK’s activity in check.

Dr Tarun Patel and his team located the specific region of the regulatory protein that binds to RSK. “The implications are widespread, and will also change textbooks for students,” he added. It’s been known for years that Carney complex is associated with mutations that cause a deficiency of the regulatory protein that binds to RSK. This would lead to activation of RSK in Carney complex patients and contribute to tumour growth.

Currently there are no drugs to specifically treat Carney complex.

Therefore, developing medications to inactivate RSK could prove to be an important new therapeutic approach for Carney complex patients.

The study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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