Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Halting Breast Cancer Growth in Early Study

Diabetes Drug Shows Promise in Halting Breast Cancer Growth in Early Study
Targeting NAF-1, a protein that is often overexpressed in breast cancers, may be key to stopping tumor growth, according to the results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, "Breast cancer tumorigenicity is dependent on high expression levels of NAF-1 and the lability of its Fe-S clusters," suggests that a drug typically used to treat type 2 diabetes, Actos (pioglitazone), may be able to halt the growth of breast cancers with high levels of the NAF-1 protein. The NAF-1 protein is a member of the NEET family of proteins. These proteins contain clusters of iron-sulfur molecules and transport these clusters inside cells to help maintain the reduction-oxidation (redox) balance within cells. In tumor cells, where metabolic activity is exceptionally high, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is no surprise. Therefore, the cells have to come up ways to tolerate the elevated amount of ROS, which can be toxic and lead to cell death. NAF-1 seems to be involved in that increased tolerance to ROS molecules; the researchers found that overexpressing the NAF-1 protein in breast cancer mouse models made the cancer cells more tolerant to oxidative stress, which allowed the tumors to become much larger and aggressive. NAF-1 "is kind of like a seesaw," Patricia Jennings, a Center for Theoretical Biological Physics affiliate and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at University of California, San Diego, said in a
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One comment

  1. David Flemming says:

    Actos, so years ago, was shown to alter breast tumor cell’s ability to metabolize sugar, so leads to the tumors shrinking and even fading away completely in some cases. Definitely suggests need for a formal study.

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