Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New Protein Discovered with Vast Potential for Treatment of Cancer and Other Diseases

Published: Monday, August 05, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, August 05, 2013
Bookmark and Share
In cancer research, discovering a new protein that plays a role in cancer is like finding a key and a treasure map: follow the clues and eventually there could be a big reward.

At least that’s the hope from a new study published in the journal Nature that discovered a novel protein called ceramide-1 phosphate transport protein (CPTP) – a finding that could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to treat a variety of cancers and other conditions involving inflammation and thrombosis, or blood clotting.

The identification of CPTP was the result of an international collaboration that built on prior research by co-lead author Charles Chalfant, Ph.D., Endowed Chair of Cancer Cell Signaling and member of the Cancer Cell Signaling program at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center as well as professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at VCU School of Medicine. The team discovered that CPTP regulates levels of biologically active lipids, which are molecules such as fatty acids that often play a role in cell signaling. This study determined that CPTP’s main function is to transport ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P), a lipid that helps regulate cell growth, survival, migration and inflammation. Specifically, C1P increases the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids – powerful signaling molecules that contribute to chronic inflammation in diseases such as cancer, asthma, atherosclerosis and thrombosis – and the discovery of CPTP shines a light on the cellular mechanisms that contribute to these diseases.

“We may have identified the newest target for treating cancer,” says Chalfant. “Because of the important role this protein plays in a number of cellular functions, it could also have large implications for a variety of diseases like cancer that are caused by inflammation.”

With assistance from Massey’s Lipidomics Developing Shared Resource core, the researchers were able to determine the composition of the bioactive lipids regulated by CPTP. Residing in the cytosol, or the liquid within cells, the team found that CPTP regulates catabolism of C1P, a process that breaks down the molecule in order to release its energy. They also demonstrated that CPTP transports C1P to the cellular membrane where it helps synthesize eicosanoids from fatty acids in the membrane.

Confirming a decade of research from Chalfant’s laboratory, the scientists provided further proof that C1P regulates group IVA phospholipase A2, an enzyme that promotes inflammation through the production of a fatty acid known as arachidonic acid. The release of arachidonic acid via C1P activation of this enzyme was shown to trigger the production of eicosanoids. These findings help to explain the reported link between ceramide kinase, the enzyme responsible for C1P production, and poor prognosis in breast cancer patients, which further suggests that alleviation of systemic inflammation may lead to better prognosis and better treatment responses.

“Moving forward, we hope to use our knowledge of the structure of CPTP in order to find small molecules and other means that can block it,” says Chalfant. “The immediate uses of such therapeutics might be to restore clotting in trauma patients by maintaining the levels of specific eicosanoids that mediate blood clotting. However, with further research we hope to define exactly how CPTP is produced so that we can regulate its production and potentially develop new treatments for a variety of diseases.”

Chalfant collaborated on this study with co-lead author Rhoderick Brown, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota; Dayanjan S. Wijesinghe, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at VCU School of Medicine; Dhirendra Simanshu, Ph.D., from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Dinshaw Patel, Ph.D., a member of the National Academy of Sciences from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Xianqiong Zou, Ravi Kanth Kamlekar, Xiuhong Zhai, Shrawan Mishra and Edward Hinchcliffe, Ph.D., all from the University of Minnesota; Julian Molotkovsky from the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia; and Lucy Malinina from CIC bioGUNE in Derio-Bilbao, Spain.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

GRP78 Protein Possible Universal Therapeutic Target
Drug combination including Viagra is effective tool in targeting the protein.
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Turmeric Combined with Thalidomide Effectively Kills Cancer Cells
Researchers combined structural features from anti-nausea drug thalidomide with common kitchen spice turmeric to create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
New Cancer “Vaccine” Shows Future Promise in Treating and Preventing Metastatic Cancers
Preclinical, laboratory studies suggest a novel immunotherapy could potentially work like a vaccine against metastatic cancers.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Scientific News
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
University of Glasgow Researchers Make An Impact in 60 Seconds
Early-career researchers were invited to submit an engaging, dynamic and compelling 60 second video illuminating an aspect of their research.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: Check Three Times, Cut Once
Two new studies from UC Berkeley should give scientists who use CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering greater confidence that they won’t inadvertently edit the wrong DNA.
Genetically Engineering Algae to Kill Cancer Cells
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos