University of Sheffield scientists are targeting a cancer-friendly protein that helps tumours resist cancer treatments.

Image courtesy of the Institute for Cancer Studies

Chemical and radiotherapies work by causing genetic damage that kills rapidly dividing cancer cells that form tumours. The protein, known as hPIF1, gets in the way of the treatment process.

The scientists at Sheffield’s Institute for Cancer Studies hope to switch-off the protein that protects the tumour from within cancer cells so that DNA-busting therapies can work properly and effectively.

"If we can inactivate the hPIF1 protein we could increase the potency of cancer treatments,” Dr Cyril Sanders, leading the study, said.

The research that has been funded by a £41,000 award from Yorkshire Cancer Research will screen chemical libraries to identify what stops hPIF1 and prove their hypothesis.

“This will be the first step in the drug discovery process that could, in the medium to long-term, result in a new, targeted, cancer treatment." Dr Cyril Sanders, leading the study, said.

More about the University of Sheffield´s Institute for Cancer Studies.

The institute provides an interactive environment for basic and translational cancer research that promotes the understanding of the causes and cures of cancer. Current research projects in the Institute focus on genetic instability in cancer. Basic research programmes probe mechanisms of DNA repair, recombination, DNA synthesis, cell cycle check points and cell death.