New possible culprits in breast cancer growth identified

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As a result of a study that was undertaken by an international consortium of researchers from Rice University, the University of North Texas Denton, the University of California, San Diego, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, two proteins have been identified as possibly contributing to the development of breast cancer. According to the findings of their study, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reducing the amount of paired proteins known as NEETs also reduces the spread of cancer cells and the size of tumors.

Jose Onuchic, co-director of Rice University’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, explained that the research was prompted by the team’s observation of women who took diabetes drugs. They noticed that these women, who had lowered NEET levels, experienced reduced rates of breast cancer. Onuchic believes that the NEETs help the growth of cancer because they are involved in the stress responses of cells.

“NEET proteins play a key role in the overall stress response of cells,” Onuchic said in a statement from Rice University. “Anytime you stress a system, these proteins are there to help, but in cases where cells are overcome by stress, NEETs can become highly overexpressed.”

These findings are exciting news because if further research provides a link, drug therapies can be developed to stop the growth of cancer cells and tumors before they even have a chance to spread.

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