Cancer Biology

Targeting Milk Production Enzyme To Treat Breast Cancer

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a protein involved in the production of milk that also stimulates the growth and spread of Breast Cancer.

They discovered that the enzyme Cyclophilin A regulates the Jak2/Stat5 genetic pathways. This pathway plays a critical role in the natural maturation of mammary glands as well as the development of breast cancer cells.

Charles Clevenger, interim associate director for basic research said, “No study till date had previously examined the loss of CypA function during mammary development and formation of cancer.”

During the research, they deleted the cypA gene in mouse models, leading to the inactivation of the Stat5 pathway. This way they were able to slow or completely halt the growth of breast cancer cells. CypA’s contribution in breast cancer was studied along with Prolactin Receptors (PRLs) signaling. Prolactin is a hormone responsible for lactation during pregnancy. By closely analyzing genetic pathway associated with PLRs signal, CypA was revealed to be a major participant in the activation of these pathways.

Clevenger added, “The distinguishing factor between CypA designed models and other genetic deletion models are mice’s ability to still lactate. This is due to significant, but not complete deactivation of a Jak2/Stat5 pathway.”

The research was published in Cancer Research. The team will be continuing further studies in preclinical models.

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