VARI Discovery Made

July 23, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Scientific Investigator Cindy Miranti, Ph.D., of the Van Andel Research Institute has made a discovery that could lead to therapeutic treatments for prostate cancer.

The study by Miranti and fellow scientists in VARI’s Laboratory of Integrin Signaling and Tumorigenesis builds on discoveries made in the past about a particular enzyme — PI-3K — present in prostate cancer patients. Miranti found that the enzyme in question is not necessary for healthy prostate cells to live, which validates the potential of therapeutically targeting that enzyme to treat prostate cancer.

“Other research has suggested that prostate cancer cells need this enzyme to survive, but our study confirms the therapeutic potential by proving that the enzyme isn’t needed for survival in normal prostate cells,” Miranti said.

According to Miranti, the discovery is important because scientists now know that therapeutics that target this enzyme could kill tumor cells without having a negative affect on normal cells.

The study is published in the July issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell.

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