WASHINGTON (March 15, 2019) — Researchers at the George Washington University (GW) Cancer Center found that the enzyme USP15 could potentially lead to new treatments for breast and pancreatic cancer. Their findings were published in Nature Communications.
“With this study, we validate the role of USP15 in maintaining genome stability and tumor suppression and inform novel treatments for breast cancer,” said Huadong Pei, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and senior author on the study. “With consistent research and progress of current studies, we will gain a stronger understanding and a more comprehensive view of USP15 functions in cancer and their role in future treatment strategies.”
The Cancer Genome Atlas indicates that USP15 enzyme deletions occur in 16 percent of breast cancers and in 5 percent of pancreatic cancers. Studies have shown that cancer-associated USP15 mutations increase poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor sensitivity in cancer cells.
PARP inhibitors are a new class of pharmacological inhibitors developed for multiple purposes, but chiefly for the treatment of cancer. They have garnered a great deal of attention for their potential in the management of patients with BRCA mutations.
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