Researchers at Brown University and Hasbro Children’s Hospital have traced the molecular interactions that allow the protein survivin to escape the nucleus of a breast cancer cell and prolong the cell’s life. That may help in the development of better therapies and prognostics.The study’s senior author Dr. Rachel Altura, associate professor of pediatrics in The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a pediatric oncologist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital reports: “You always have to worry about all the things you don’t know that you are targeting,”. “If we can target HDAC6, we can maybe block survivin from coming out of the nucleus and maintain it in its good state.” The present strategy is to block CRM1, Altura said, an idea she is pursuing with a pharmaceutical company in breast cancer cells in the lab. She said preliminary experiments look promising in keeping survivin inside the nucleus and making cancer cells more susceptible to dying.
Best kept behind barsInside the nucleus, survivin behaves. If it escapes, it can give a cancer cell great longevity. Three proteins conspire to help survivin break out of the nucleus. The darker area around the nucleus, above, is HDAC6, one of the conspirators.