A protein called Numb (seriously) may promote the death of cancer cells by binding to and stabilizing the tumor suppressor protein p53, which is implicated in many cases of triple-negative breast cancer, according to research published in the May 23rd issue of Molecular Cell. When Numb is reduced by the Set8 enzyme , it will no longer protect p53.
“If you don’t have Numb in a cell, then the p53 can be degraded very quickly, and these cells become resistant to chemotherapy,” said Shawn Li, PhD, a professor of Biochemistry and Canada Research Chair in Cellular Proteomics and Functional Genomics at Western Ontario University.
Now that he’s identified the Set8-Numb-p53 pathway, Li is investigating various drugs to find a Set8 inhibitor which could be used as a novel breast cancer therapy alone, or in combination with other chemotherapy regiments. View this video to see Li explain his findings.