Are Scientists On the Verge of Finding a Cure for Cancer?

Inhibiting the protein PARP 14 shows promise in stopping uncontrolled cancer cell growth.

Inhibiting the protein PARP 14 shows promise in stopping uncontrolled cancer cell growth.

Scientists know that glucose is the main source of energy for cancer cells, but a new discovery of a protein that when switched off could stop the disease from proliferating could lead scientists to a cure for cancer.

“The protein PARP 14 is over-produced in virtually every human cancer but not in normal cells,” explained lead academic Dr. Concetta Bubici from Brunel University London. “What we have discovered is that its role in cancer is to allow cells to harness glucose in a different way from healthy ones which in turn powers their rapid, uncontrolled growth while also protecting them from the normal cycle of programmed cell death.”

Almost all cells in the body have a strictly limited life. By having the over-expression of PARP 14 available to cancer cells, they not only are able to grow and proliferate at a turbo-charged rate, they also overcame the natural death cycle of cells known as apoptosis.

“We discovered that too much PARP 14 effects other proteins in the body called kinases that control apoptosis,” said Dr. Salvatore Pap from the Institute of Hepatology London. “So if we can find a way of stopping this over production of PARP 14 we can cure cancer.”

Another added benefit to this would be to weaken the cancer cells against currently used chemotherapy treatments, which the team expects will continue to be used.

Controlling or inhibiting enzymes and proteins in the body is an integral part of modern medicine to treat a wide variety of diseases ranging from stomach ulcers to depression. This process already has an important role in preventing the recurrence of breast cancer.

While these findings certainly provide much hope for scientists within the field of oncology, researchers warn that much more testing needs to be done in order for doctors to be able to prescribe a drug that will inhibit PARP 14.