Saturday, 29 October 2011

National Chemical Laboratory: Anti-cancer peptide obtained from a bacterium that lives in the soil and on decaying vegetation

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: A team of Indian scientists has isolated an
anti-cancer peptide from a bacterium that lives in the soil and on
decaying vegetation.

The novel peptide obtained from a soil bacterial genus, Streptomyces,
is capable of not only killing cancer cells but also prevents
malignant growths in the body. Incidentally, this bacterial genus is
known for its antibiotics potential and is a favourite group of
organism for those searching for new antibiotics and drugs.

The team from the National Chemical Laboratory in collaboration with
scientists from the National Centre for Cell Science discovered this
new peptide called cysteine protease inhibitor while working on
Streptomyces fermentation broth.

Dr PK Ingle of the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune told this
correspondent that the pioneering work was done under the team
leadership of Dr MI Khan. "Unfortunately, Dr Khan died recently. The
peptide could play an important role in treating or preventing
cancer," he added.

The novel peptide is capable of inhibiting the migration of cancer
cells and thus it controls this major health menace. Since this
peptide molecule inhibits the activity of cysteine protease, which
play an important role in cell migration and tumour metastasis (spread
of cancer from one body area to another), it can be used as a drug to
treat cancer and other pathological conditions too.

The team also noticed that though it inhibits the spread of cancer, it
does not cause harm to healthy cells or tissues. It has the potential
to be developed as effective anti-metastatic drugs for tumour therapy,
the NCL team pointed out. It also inhibits osteoclast (bone
reabsorption process) differentiation without any toxic effect, which
in other words means it is capable of preventing bone cancers.

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