Protein discovery offers hope for childhood cancer
Scientists believe that blocking the activity of the Aurora protein could hold the key to treating a childhood cancer. Neuroblastoma, a type of nerve cancer, is caused mainly by the build up of the Myc protein in cells. A team of researchers at the University of Marburg in Germany have found that Aurora stops cells from destroying the Myc protein, causing a build up which makes the cells cancerous. Inhibiting Aurora's activity would allow Myc to break down normally.
The research, published on 6th January 2009 in journal Cancer Cell, was led by Professor Martin Eilers. He said: “We are very excited by our findings which may pave the way for the development of drugs to fight this rare but deadly cancer.”
The Association for International Cancer Research funded the study. AICR’s Scientific Adviser Mark Matfield added: "This is an important development - there is a desperate need for new therapies for neuroblastoma. It is one of the most difficult childhood cancers to treat successfully."