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Researchers investigate protein phosphatase to identify new treatments for cancer, other diseases

Publicado em 13 janeiro 2021

Por Karina Ninni , da Agência FAPESP

It is also known to perform important functions in cells under normal conditions, participating in both the proliferation process and the regulation of intracellular systems. Research continues on its role in cancer progression.

In Brazil, a group of researchers at the University of Campinas's In Vitro Bioassay and Signal Transduction Laboratory led by Professor Carmen Veríssima Ferreira-Halder are studying the possibility of inhibiting this protein phosphatase to create novel opportunities for monitoring and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

We believe inhibition of LMWPTP could contribute to the treatment of several diseases. In our case, the focus is on cancer, but research shows it's also associated with autoimmune diseases and diabetes, among others." Carmen Veríssima Ferreira-Halder, Professor, In Vitro Bioassay and Signal Transduction Laboratory, University of Campinas

Ferreira-Halder was principal investigator for the Thematic Project "Low molecular weight protein tyrosine phosphatase in colorectal cancer: from the bench to product generation", supported by FAPESP and completed in June 2020.

The phosphatase favors the action of intratumor proteins that help tumors divide, migrate and establish metastasis. "For this reason we say it's a 'hub', in the sense that it controls several processes which together make tumor cells resistant to treatment and able to migrate and establish metastasis," she said.

A review article by the group published in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences outlines 14 years of research on LMWPTP and its contribution to cancer treatment. "Our group was one of the first to show that this enzyme contributes to chemotherapy resistance in leukemia cells," Ferreira-Halder said. "We also found that the more advanced the stage of the tumor, the larger the amount of the enzyme.