Cancer Researchers: New Function in an Old Acquaintance – Enzyme Shuts Off Senescence

Cells have two different programs to safeguard them from getting out of control and developing cancer. One of them is senescence (biological aging). It puts cancer cells into a permanent sleep so they no longer divide and grow in an uncontrolled way. Now the research group led by Professor Walter Birchmeier (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin-Buch) has discovered that an enzyme known to be active in breast cancer and leukemia blocks this protection program and boosts tumor growth. They succeeded in blocking this enzyme in mice with breast cancer, thus reactivating senescence and stopping tumor growth (EMBO-Journal, DOI 10.15252/embj.201489004)*. (Mehr in: Pressemitteilungen – idw – Informationsdienst Wissenschaft)