Cancer research-funded scientists based at the University of Cambridge have identified a new target for the treatment of lung squamous cell carcinoma.
Their research, published in Nature Communications, lung pulmonary cell carcinoma (LUSC) cells were found to contain large amounts of a protein called BCL11A, and manipulation of the gene responsible for this protein stopped the development of the disease in mice.
The study also revealed a signaling pathway involving BCL11A, and identified a potentially medicinal target, called SETD8.
"How LUSC develops is a bit of a puzzle – so far our molecular understanding of this process has been limited," says our research. We have discovered a large part of this puzzle, with which we now actively try to make new medicines. "
The findings have given rise to further funding by Cancer Research UK to promote the development of a drug that is able to target this protein, hoping to eventually give some patients with the disease a new treatment option.
"Identifying potentially drug-free targets is an early but crucial phase in the journey to precision medicine," said Professor Karen Vousden, head scientist at Cancer Research UK.
"While much remains to be done before this work can be translated into patient benefit, it is a fundamental step towards that goal and we look forward to seeing how this discovery progresses along the research pipeline."