Retrieval Method Makes Cancer Study Easier

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., July 6 (UPI) — A new retrieval method makes studying cancer proteins easier, a researcher at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said.

By using the new technique and a synthetic nanopolymer, specific proteins can be mapped and analyzed to find ways to inhibit the processes that lead to the formation of cancer cells, W. Andy Tao, an assistant biochemistry professor said Tuesday in a release.

The technique using the synthetic nanopolymer, which Tao developed and patented, isolates proteins and peptides that have undergone a process called phosphorylation, which is closely associated with cancer, and allows Tao to retrieve those proteins. Information contained in the proteins is key in the study of how cancer cells form.

“You really want to capture these particular proteins, but there are so many different types of proteins around them,” said Tao, whose findings were published in the early online version of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. “The target proteins are a thousand times lower in amount than other proteins. They are difficult to study without the capturing step.”

Tao said he is looking for opportunities to get the polymer and technique into wider use to help develop new cancer drugs.

“This technique is very useful and can be used widely in research for cancer as well as infectious diseases,” Tao said.

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