Meet MBNL1, key protein that causes cancer relapse; hope for new therapies, say scientists

Cancer not only affects the physical aspect of one’s life but also the emotional and financial aspect of it. It takes immense will power and courage to fight this deadly disease

Myupchar July 02, 2020 16:02:58 IST
content powered by
Meet MBNL1, key protein that causes cancer relapse; hope for new therapies, say scientists

Cancer not only affects the physical aspect of one’s life but also the emotional and financial aspect of it. It takes immense will power and courage to fight this deadly disease. And even after the treatment is over, one of the major concerns of survivors is the likelihood of cancer coming back. This fear of recurrence results in anxiety and depression in many patients.

In a recent article published in the journal PNAS on 29 June, 2020, researchers stated that they have found the key protein which leads to the occurrence and progression of cancer relapse in a person. This finding is expected to aid in the development of new and better cancer therapies.

Cancer relapse

When cancer reoccurs after a complete course of treatment, it is called cancer relapse. The relapsed cancer may recur in the same place it first started or it might appear somewhere else in the body. Some cancers such as ovarian cancer, glioblastoma and lymphoma have 75 to 100 percent recurrence rate.

Cancer can return the body if some of the cancerous cells remain active even after the complete course of treatment. Since these cells are very difficult to identify, they remain undiagnosed until they grow into fully developed cancer again.

Culprits of cancer recurrence 

Researchers from the Duke-NUS’ Cancer and Stem Cell Biology (CSCB) programme found that low levels of Muscleblind-like 1 (MBNL1) protein could be a marker of cancer relapse. MBNL1 is an RNA-binding protein which prevents the tumour from dedifferentiating. Dedifferentiation is a process by which the tumour cells change their form to become stem cells, which can change into any other form of cells in the future. This helps the tumour cells to reoccur after the entire treatment is done.

Low levels of MBNL1 protein has been associated with increased risk of relapse and cancer spread in the case of bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC), prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and uterine cancer.

The researchers also found that MBNL-1 protein is helped by JNK enzyme to convert the tumour cell into a stem cell.

Hope for the future

Cancer is the second-highest leading cause of death globally. After the recent discovery, scientists believe that on restricting the JNK enzyme, they will be able to prevent the chances of relapse in many cancer cases.

For more information, read our article on Cancer.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

Updated Date:

also read

Coronavirus could cause hearing loss, damage hair cells in cochlea, studies suggest
Health

Coronavirus could cause hearing loss, damage hair cells in cochlea, studies suggest

This is not the first time the coronavirus has shown to affect ears.

Tick-borne STFS virus re-emerges in China; 2015 outbreak saw mortality rate of over 30 percent
Health

Tick-borne STFS virus re-emerges in China; 2015 outbreak saw mortality rate of over 30 percent

Virologists say that the same virus was found in Japan and South Korea in 2015 where the mortality rate was found to be more than 30% in both countries

The link between vitamin D and depression: Here's how the sunshine nutrient can affect your mental health
Health

The link between vitamin D and depression: Here's how the sunshine nutrient can affect your mental health

Vitamin D not only aids calcium absorption in the body, leading to good bone density and health, but also helps reduce inflammation, improves cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function