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Surprising study reveals how cancer-causing protein activates

cells to see if it activated STAT3. Using this method, Yuan was able to isolate the culprit: Lys685, one of as many as 780 amino acids that are strung together to make the protein.

Yuan corroborated the finding by testing both a normal and mutated version of STAT3 in a mass spectrometer. The machine smashes the protein into amino acids then sequences these building blocks. The work took nearly two years to complete.

Chin said the research provides an important target for drugs in treating breast and prostate cancers that are common in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 217,440 Americans were diagnosed with breast cancer and 230,110 were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004.

"Finding a drug to block both tyrosine phosphorylation and lysine acetylation of STAT3 protein should be a more effective cancer treatment," Chin said.

The research team also included Ying-jie Guan, a post-doctoral fellow in the lab, and Devasis Chatterjee, an assistant professor (research) of Medicine at Brown Medical School.


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Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
13-Jan-2005


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