NUI Maynooth involved in Cancer research breakthrough

Researchers in NUI Maynooth’s biology department have joined forces with the University of Chicago in producing breakthrough research in the search for a cancer cure.

Dr Gary Jones and Dr Naushaba Hasin of NUIM’s Yeast Genetics laboratory were part of a study which utilized baker’s yeast to study how a protein called Heat Shock Protein 70 influences how cells divide. The study was led by Dr Andrew Truman and Prof Stephen Kron of the University of Chicago.

The results of the study show that they can now use Heat Shock Protein 70 as a new therapeutic target for some cancers.

Dr Gary Jones of NUI Maynooth described the study as great example of how a potentially basic science research topic can lead to important new discoveries relating to human diseases.

This work is part of research into the Heat Shock Protein 70 in Dr. Jone’s laboratory which is partly funded by research grants from Science Foundation Ireland.

Dr Jones explained  how the study worked: “Yeast and mammalian cells grow and divide in a tightly regulated manner. When regulation is disrupted this can lead to cells dying or in some cases growing out of control. The latter case is what causes cancer in humans.

“In this study we show that Heat shock protein 70 in baker’s yeast is responsible for controlling the amount of another protein in the cell called cyclin. The amount of cyclin dictates progression through the cell cycle(the spread of cancer). By modifying the functional state of the aforementioned protein we found that the amount of cyclin protein was altered and thus changed the cell cycle status of yeast.”

Adam Higgins

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