Research

17 Feb, 2018 |Facebook |Twitter |Email |


An anthraquinone derivative found to inhibit protein aggregation in cancer.

Research studies by Dr. Snober Mir at Integral University seeks to target cancer at root level.

Cancers are a large family of diseases that involve abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. It is one of the major cause of mortality throughout the world. The Indian Council Medical Research report suggests that India is likely to have over 1.73 million new cases of cancer and over 0.88 million deaths due to the disease by 2020.[1] Cancer is associated with a lot of fear and negativity and the name alone evokes visions of mortality and morbidity in patients, their family members and relatives alike.
India accounts for the third highest number of cancer cases among women after China and the US, growing annually at 4.5-5%, new data shows. [2, 3] Late detection and lack of awareness happen to be the main reasons for India to be highly cancer prone. “More than 50% of the cases in India are detected in stage 3 or 4 decreasing their survival rate” highlights Dr. Snober Mir, Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering at Integral University.

Dr. Mir heads the Molecular and Cell Biology laboratory. Her work focuses on early detection of cancerous activity to find the treatment that is more effective and brisk. The Research focuses towards understanding the molecular mechanisms of chaperones, their activities and their role in protein quality control. It is well known that cancer and most of the neurodegenerative disorders arise due to underlying defects in the protein quality control (PQC) pathways that have evolved to protect normal cells from the deleterious effects of abnormally folded proteins. These rogue proteins get accumulated in the cells and employ a sophisticated protein proof reading and elimination mechanism called the Protein quality control mechanism.

The molecular switches that trigger the chaperones to act under stressful conditions and the impairment of such commands during disease processes are yet to be identified.

Dr. Mir emphasizes that understanding the protein quality control pathways would not only give an insight into the basic cellular mechanisms that have gone awry but also would help in designing better treatment modalities. To this end, the powerful genetics of baker’s yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in vitro model systems are utilized for understanding the role of protein aggregation in deregulation of fundamental cellular functions and subsequent development of disease processes in human beings. Thus, taking advantage of the recent reverse genetics technologies along with the well-deciphered genetic make-up of yeast, the objective of her research group is to identify novel modulators of protein quality control pathways.

The Molecular and Cell Biology laboratory at Integral is also working on screening of novel bioactive compounds that have the potential to modulate protein quality control machinery and to understand their mode(s) of action. The observations, so far shows that the increased level of autophagy might be the mechanism for the removal of p53 protein aggregates which restores p53 function in A549 cells after emodin treatment. This encourages further studies towards deciphering related mechanistic aspects vis-à-vis potential therapeutic strategies against cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next 20 years.[4,5] This Integral study may serve as a shield to identify protein aggregation of important regulatory proteins as novel potential targets for cancer and provide a new therapeutic approach towards cancer treatment.




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