UT, South Korean scientists discover protein for decreasing cancer treatment resistance

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FILE – This undated fluorescence-colored microscope image made available by the National Institutes of Health in September 2016 shows a culture of human breast cancer cells. On Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended more women should consider gene testing for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, especially those who’ve already survived cancer once. (Ewa Krawczyk/National Cancer Institute via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and Ajou University in South Korea discovered a new protein that can help with preventing resistance to cancer treatments, according to a UT press release from Tuesday.

The protein, PCAF, causes damage in BRCA 1/2-mutated cancer cells, the press release said. Patients with lower levels of the protein are more likely to develop a resistance to treatment and suffer worse outcomes.

Using a drug that boosts PCAF, known as HDAC inhibitors, and combining it with drugs used to treat the tumors can lead to better results for patients.

“A major issue with cancer treatments is the development of resistance,” said UT researcher Kyle Miller in the press release. “When treatments stop working for patients, it’s incredibly demoralizing and it’s been a huge drive in research to understand these resistance mechanisms. Our goal is to understand how every molecule is interacting inside our cells, as this gives clues to what is going wrong in human diseases.”

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