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NYU Researchers Develop Compound to Block Signaling of Cancer-Causing Protein

July 17, 2011
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Researchers at New York University’s Department of Chemistry and NYU Langone Medical Center have developed a compound that blocks signaling from a protein implicated in many types of cancer. The compound is described in the latest issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

The researchers examined signaling by receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). Abnormal RTK signaling is a major underlying cause of various developmental disorders and diseases, including many forms of cancer. RTK signaling pathway employs interactions between proteins Sos and Ras, and accounts for a broad range of molecular changes that underlie various cancers and other diseases. Disrupting the Sos-Ras interaction, then, is crucial to stemming the production of cancer cells.

However, interactions between large protein molecules such as Ras and Sos have been difficult to modulate with artificial means. Through a series of experimental and computational analyses, the scientists hypothesized that by mimicking a key portion of Sos, they might disrupt its interactions with Ras. Specifically, they observed that Sos activates Ras through a helix—a critical portion of Sos that makes contact with Ras. Creation of this Sos mimetic required a method for locking correct helical shapes in synthetic strings of amino acids – a method previously developed at NYU School of Medicine.

The researchers note that synthetic Sos may offer a lead for the creation of pharmaceuticals that can block Sos-Ras interaction.

The study was co-authored by Paramjit Arora, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, Anupam Patgiri, graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Dafna Bar-Sagi, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and Kamlesh Yadav, graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Additional contact:

Christopher Rucas

212.404.3525

christopher.rucas@nyumc.org

About New York University

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities.  It is one of the largest private universities, it has one of the largest contingents of international students, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other college or university in the U.S. Through its 18 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and dramatic arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

About NYU School of Medicine

NYU School of Medicine, the medical school of NYU Medical is one of the nation’s preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence.  For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital, one of the nation’s finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City’s diverse population, which enhances the scope and quality of their medical education and training. Additional information about the NYU School of Medicine is available at http://school.med.nyu.edu/.

About NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation’s premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of three hospitals – Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the first rehabilitation hospital in the world; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nation dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology – plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousand of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The medical center’s tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to www.NYULMC.org.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Arts and Science, Research, Faculty, School of Medicine

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

NYU Researchers Develop Compound to Block Signaling of Cancer-Causing Protein

Researchers at NYU’s Department of Chemistry and NYU Langone Medical Center have developed a compound, which relies on a mimetic helix (in blue), that blocks signaling from a protein implicated in many types of cancer. Image courtesy of Nature Chemical Biology.


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