Circadian Clock Manipulated to Inhibit Liver Cancer
“We were able to inhibit the growth of liver cancer in a mouse model by manipulating the circadian clock at the cellular level,” said Kristin Eckel-Mahan, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and an assistant professor with the Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
Eckel-Mahan’s team identified a malfunctioning protein that was inhibiting the expression of a key circadian transcription factor and blocking the ability of a tumor suppressor to perform its normal 24-hour cellular functions. When investigators forced the tumor cells to re-express the deficient circadian protein, the tumor cells died.
Fifty percent of liver tumors express this malfunctioning protein, which induces circadian dysfunction in those cells, said Eckel-Mahan, whose laboratory is in the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at UTHealth.
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