A SIGNIFICANT development in the field of embryology, which could possibly help in the treatment of cancer has been made at the University of Cyprus.
The breakthrough was made by a research team in the department of Biological Sciences under assistant professor Dr Paris Skourides. The research results were published in the scientific journal ‘Development.’
According to a statement released from the university, the team succeeded in achieving the synthesis of protein inhibitor of Focal Adhesion Kinase, FAK. So far this inhibitor is the only one to effectively suppress the activity of the particular molecule in living organisms.
The study, funded by the Research Promotion Foundation, showed that this protein, FAK, is absolutely necessary during a very critical period in the development of the embryo.
“The specific period forms the three-dimensional structure of the fetus. If the protein does not act correctly, extensive malformations or death may occur, given that 21 per cent of fetal deaths in humans are caused by developmental abnormalities incompatible with life,” the statement said.
In addition, the protein under study is involved in carcinogenesis in terms of both tumour growth, and metastasis.
Previous research showed that by inhibiting the activity of FAK reduces tumour growth and partially suppresses metastasis.
The University of Cyprus’ research shows that the new inhibitor is far more active than the existing ones and suppresses a wider range of FAK activities
The announcement said that a new study was under way which aims to investigate the possible use of the inhibitor for the suppression of cancer.