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New Function of a Protein Involved in Colon Cancer is Identified, IMIM, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute Study  
10/5/2012 8:04:32 AM

Researchers from IMIM, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute, have succeeded in determining the function of a new variant of enzyme IKKalpha (IKKa) to activate some of the genes taking part in the tumor progressions of colorectal cancer. In the future, this fact will make it possible to design new drugs that inhibit this enzyme specifically and are less toxic for the remaining body cells, hence improving the treatment for this disease. The study is the culmination of previous research by the IMIM Research Group on Stem Cells and Cancer that had proven the existence of a link between the activation of the IKKa enzyme and occurrence of colorectal cancer in humans. "We studied the particularities that distinguish the pre-tumor activity of IKKa from its normal physiological activities, which are known to be essential for the survival of non-cancerous cells and can therefore not be pharmacologically inhibited without causing great harm to the body" explains Dr. LluĂ­s Espinosa, a member of the group and the director of this study.