Anti-cancer Protein, Once Reactivated, Seen to Target Ovarian Cancer Cells in Early Study

Anti-cancer Protein, Once Reactivated, Seen to Target Ovarian Cancer Cells in Early Study
Researchers have discovered how reactivating a protein called OPCML — a tumor suppressor molecule usually reduced or lost in cancer patients — works to suppress ovarian cancer cells. These findings may lead to OPCML-based therapies to fight this cancer. The preclinical study reporting the findings, “The tumour suppressor OPCML promotes AXL inactivation by the phosphatase PTPRG in ovarian cancer,” was published in the journal EMBO Reports. Unusually high levels of a cell membrane protein — called AXL receptor tyrosine kinase (AXL) — are found in tumors and metastases. AXL is associated with tumor growth, survival, migration, poor anti-tumor immune responses, and resistance to cancer therapy. In ovarian cancer patients, AXL is mainly found in metastases and advanced-stage tumors but not in normal ovarian tissues. Preclinical studies have shown that suppressing AXL prevents the development of metastasis and, in advanced ovarian cancers, hampers further metastasis and disease progression. Several molecules that block AXL are currently being developed and evaluated in preclinical and clinical studies as potential therapies against this cancer. However, the mechanisms that regulate AXL signaling are poorly understood. OPCML is a known tumor suppressor molecule that is lost in more than 83 percent of ovarian cancer patients — which correlates with disease progression. It has been shown to act through the regulation of several receptor tyrosine kinases (from the same family as AXL). Researchers at
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