Researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered a new gene therapy pathway that has the potential to protect humans against serious life-limiting diseases such as cancer and dementia.
Published in Nature Communications, the research found that when cells in our body read DNA to build proteins, they often make mistakes that can damage our genome, causing diseases such as cancer and dementia. However, by investigating how cells fix the damage in the DNA to keep us healthy, scientists have discovered the benefits of three proteins, called USP11, KEAP1, and SETX, working together as a team.
Findings from this study will enable scientists to develop diagnostic tests and drugs to target one or more of the proteins in the pathway for the early detection and treatment of certain types of cancer and neurological disease.
“The findings are important and significant; this is because we are now at the stage where we could make drugs to control this modification. This would be useful in killing cells, which is what we do when we treat elderly people for cancer. The other application would be to reduce the level of genome damage, which could be beneficial for other aging-associated disorders like dementia”, says Professor Sherif El-Khamisy, Co-Founder and Deputy Director of the Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of Sheffield and a professor from the University’s School of Biosciences and the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Sheffield.
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