Building on that earlier gene discovery in human cells, the team compared mEAK-7 expression levels in normal and cancer cells using tumor cell genetic information from several databases as well as tissue samples from cancer patients.
"By focusing on non-small cell lung cancer, we found that mEAK-7, which is important for cell proliferation and migration, was highly expressed in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer," said Dr. Joe Nguyen, first author and postdoctoral scholar at the National Cancer Institute. "We also discovered that mEAK-7 was expressed in primary cancer cells but not expressed in non-cancerous cells, which shows that the protein could be a key culprit in cancer metastasis."
Research - Journal - IScience
The research was published in the journal iScience.
The researchers also found that mEAK-7, when combined with a large molecule called DNA-PKcs (which helps regulate DNA repair and controls or enhances cancer growth), created an alternative mTOR signaling pathway used by cancer cells for their growth and proliferation. In normal cells, two well-studied pathways are controlled by a gene called mTOR, which regulates normal cell growth, proliferation and survival.
Pathway - Cancer - Stem - Cells - Process
"This third complex or pathway is very important for cancer stem cells, which begin the process of colony formation and cell proliferation, and lead to metastasis that is the leading...
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