Anew drug named GO289 slows cancer cells’ growth by disrupting their circadian clock
Does the word ‘cancer’ send shivers down your spine? A cancer diagnosis brings a lot of fear and pessimism. There are people who live with the phobia of getting cancer. There are many causes of cancer. Many factors influence the likelihood of a successful cancer treatment. Scientists are always trying to discover and develop new drugs. We hear of new drugs being developed almost every year.
This year the scientists at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and Nagoya University’s Institute of Transformative BioMolecules (ITbM) have found a new molecule named GO289. It targets an enzyme that controls the cell’s circadian rhythm or biological cycle. Disrupting sleep and other elements of humans’ circadian rhythm can harm health. Scientists say that the same is true for the circadian rhythm of cells too. Disrupting the circadian rhythm of cancer cells will eventually lead to their death.
What is a circadian rhythm?
Circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock. It is physical, mental and behavioural change that follows a daily cycle. It’s also known as sleep/wake cycle. It is because of this cycle that we feel drowsy and energized almost at the same time every day. The way we have our circadian clock, the cells of our body also have it. Cancer cells have their own circadian clocks.
Scientists first tested GO289 on human bone cancer cells. In these cells it appeared to slow the tumour’s circadian clock. It targeted an enzyme named CK2 in these cancer cells. CK2 is a protein kinase enzyme that promotes cell survival. CK2 level is abnormally high in cancer cells. It creates an environment favourable to the development of malignancy. CK2 is an appealing target to counteract different kinds of tumours. It’s also a valuable marker for the detection of cancer.
To determine the potential of GO289 in cancer treatment, scientists tried it on other cancers as well. It was tested on human kidney cancer cells and on mice with acute myeloid leukaemia. Scientists found that it specifically affected the cancer cell metabolism and other circadian-related functions that are important for their growth and survival.
Scientists are optimistic about this new drug. They feel that the findings could become an effective new weapon that kills cancer.