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Work with cancer-related proteins garners National Foundation for Cancer Research grant

potential to prevent cancer. Vanderbilt-Ingram scientists have uncovered evidence in the laboratory that suggests COX-2 inhibitors might be helpful in treating cancer as well. These drugs are based on minute differences in physical structure that permit fairly specific targeting of COX-2.

Marnett and his colleagues have recently discovered that endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonyl-glycerol (2-AG), is a substrate for COX-2 and is converted into a series of novel glyceryl-prostaglandins. COX-2 oxygenates natural derivatives of arachidonic acid such as esters and amides whereas COX-1 does not. "There is little difference between COX-1 and COX-2 at the protein level," Marnett said. "But for some reason, COX-1 is always present, while COX-2 only comes on when needed. It comes on like gangbusters, then goes away. Over the past year, we have identified a functional biochemical difference between the two proteins. If we can better understand that difference, we're hopeful that knowledge will allow us to exploit the difference to develop even more specific and effective drugs to prevent and potentially treat cancer."

"With NFCR's funding support, Dr. Marnett will be able to do bold and blue-sky exploration," said Dr. Sujuan Ba, Science Director of the National Foundation for Cancer Research. "We believe the findings from Dr. Marnett's research will aid in the development of the next generation of cancer preventive or therapeutic agents by identifying new molecular targets for drug development."

The National Foundation for Cancer Research is a cancer-related charity fully dedicated to advancing basic science cancer research in the laboratory. Formed in 1973 to support research related to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer, NFCR encourages and facilitates collaboration and the sharing of ideas and results among scientists so that advances in one field contribute to discoveries in others. The NFCR has provided more than $170 million to fund research that h
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Contact: Cynthia Manley
cynthia.manley@mcmail.vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
25-Oct-2000


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