An animal study has discovered two molecules that may be more effective cancer killers than treatments already available.
Peptides have been found to target an enzyme in cancerous cells that regulates the tumour suppressor protein, known as p53.
Peptides inhibit the enzyme, causing p53 levels in cancer cells to rise, which leads to cell death, according to researchers at the University of Southern California.
Dr Hye-ra Lee, first author of the study, stated: "Given the mounting evidence that [the peptides serve] as a pivotal component regulating p53 protein levels, the inhibition of HAUSP should have the benefit to fully activate p53."
P53 is recognised as a major tumour suppressor that is mutated during cancer.
In 2006, researchers used proteomic techniques to identify proteins secreted by the cells in response to p53.
It was found that wt-p53 could control a tumour's ability to communicate with normal stromal cells surrounding it.
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