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Prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer And A Deadly Protein

Researchers have discovered that a newly discovered protein promotes prostate-cancer cell growth – and the finding could lead to a new therapeutic target for the illness.

The findings from Keck School of Medicine, of the University of Southern California, provide evidence that the newly discovered member of a family of cell surface proteins called G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) causes prostate cancer cells to grow. The specific protein, GPR158, was found while the researchers were looking for new drug targets for glaucoma.

Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer in American men, is expected to cause 27,000 deaths in 2015, according to the American Cancer Society.

“When a prostate cancer tumor is in its early stages, it depends on hormones called androgens to grow,” said Nitin Patel, Ph.D., research scientist at the Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and corresponding author on the research. “Eventually it progresses to a more lethal form, called castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), and is resistant to drugs that block androgen receptors.  We found that GPR158, unlike other members of the GPCR family, is stimulated by androgens, which in turn stimulates androgen receptor expression, leading to tumor growth.”

According to a news release from the university, the GPR158 protein is a likely target for new prostate cancer drugs.

The finding was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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