An Enzyme, PRSS3, which Help Drives Aggressive Prostate Cancer Discovered by Mayo Clinic Researchers
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have made a breakthrough research on enzyme said to possibly increase the risk of prostate cancer.
This enzyme is known as Mesotrypsin or PRSS3. With this discovery, it becomes possible for new prostate cancer treatments to target the inhibition of this enzyme.
Details of the discovery of this enzyme have been published online in the December 18 issue of the Molecular Cancer Research.
Speaking on about this new discovery, the senior investigator and a cancer biologist in Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Evette Radisky explains the enzyme PRSS3 is “a protease, which means it digests other molecules”. She made this explanation in press statement.
Furthermore, she explains that the findings of the researchers suggest the enzyme promotes malignancy and invasiveness by changing the environment around prostate cancer cells, perhaps freeing them from surrounding tissue.
A quote from her explains: “I don’t think PRSS3 is the only factor involved in driving aggressive prostate cancer, but it may be significant for a certain subset of this cancer – the kind that is potentially lethal.”
A further detail about this study is explained in an article published December 18, 2012 in Medical News Today website. Excerpts from this website you will find interesting discussed the new study this way: Enzyme May Help Free Cancer Cells from Surrounding Tissue
Senior investigator, Evette Radisky, a cancer biologist in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, explains in a press statement that PRSS3 is “a protease, which means it digests other molecules”.
She says their findings suggest the enzyme promotes malignancy and invasiveness by changing the enviroment around prostate cancer cells, perhaps freeing them from surrounding tissue, but she adds:
“I don’t think PRSS3 is the only factor involved in driving aggressive prostate cancer, but it may be significant for a certain subset of this cancer – the kind that is potentially lethal.”
Link Found By Searching Published Clinical Data
For their study, Radisky and colleagues searched publicly available data from clinical studies that had information on molecules that are “upregulated”, that is switched on, in cancer.
PRSS3 has already been associated with breast, lung, and pancreatic cancer. In fact it was Radisky’s team that discovered the link with breast cancer, but in this latest investigation they wanted to see if the enzyme was abnormally expressed in any other cancer, and at what stages.
“The link between PRSS3 activity and aggressive prostate cancer jumped out at us.”
She goes on to describe how their analysis revealed a “definitive trend of increasing PRSS3 expression with cancer progression”.
PRSS3 Essential to Metastasis, But Also Possible to Switch Off
To confirm what they found in the data mining exercise, the team did some tests in lab mice bred to have human prostate cancer.
They found expression of PRSS3 was essential to prostate cancer metastasis. It did not spread in mice where PRSS3 was switched off.
When they crystallized and examined the enzyme’s structure, they found a spot where they could insert a small drug molecule that disrupts the enzyme’s ability to slice up other molecules.
“The protease has an active site that breaks down other proteins, and our inhibiting agent sticks to the site, shutting it down,” explains Radisky.
Potential for Diagnosis and Treatment
The researchers see two ways forward from their discovery.
One is a diagnostic route: it may be possible to test prostate cancer patients for the presence of PRSS3, and that may help identify those at high risk for aggressive cancer.
The other is a treatment route: the prototype drug the team has developed could form the basis on “which to build an agent that can be used to treat these same patients,” says Radisky.
“Our inhibitor does not have the characteristics we need for a clinically useful drug. But it puts us on the right path to develop one,” she adds.
In their paper, she and her colleagues conclude:
“This study defines mesotrypsin as an important mediator of prostate cancer progression and metastasis, and suggests that inhibition of mesotrypsin activity may provide a novel modality for prostate cancer treatment.”
Finally, it’s really interesting to know that this study by Mayo Clinic researchers is a breakthrough discovery which can lead to lead to more effective treatment for prostate cancer. More facts can be accessed online from the journal ‘Molecular Cancer Research’ of 18th December, 2012.
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