Protein found in body could help in development of new cancer drug, finds study

Washington: Researchers have discovered protein in the body, which may aid the development of new drugs with significantly lesser side effects than existing chemotherapy for cancer patients.

The details were published in the Journal of Cell Stem Cell.

The study showed that the protein, known as YTHDF2, is needed to trigger and sustain the disease, but is not needed for healthy cells to function. This identifies YTHDF2 as a promising drug to aid cancer.

Tests in blood samples donated by patients showed that the protein is abundant in cancer cells, while experiments in mice found that the protein is required to initiate and maintain the disease.

Importantly, they also showed that the protein is not needed to support the function of healthy blood stem cells, which are responsible for the production of all normal blood cells. In fact, blood stem cells were even more active in the absence of protein – YTHDF2.

Professor Kamil Kranc, who jointly led the study, said: “Our work sets the stage for therapeutic targeting of cancer stem cells in leukaemia while enhancing the regenerative capacity of normal blood stem cells. We hope this will establish a new paradigm in cancer treatment.”

Professor Dónal O’Carroll, co-lead of the research, said: “The study shows the promise of a novel class of drugs as the basis for cancer and regenerative medicine treatments.”