University of Saskatchewan

September 20, 2014   

Researchers One Step Closer to Understanding Underlying Causes of Cancer and Diabetes

March 10, 2010

Prepared by the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency.

A Saskatchewan Cancer Agency researcher and her team have discovered a new link between the “on” and “off” switches that control cell growth and insulin responses in the body. This work could have implications for cancer and diabetes treatment.

The p85 protein is known to control the “on switch” for cell division and if it is too active, cancer can result. This “on switch” is also important for cells to respond to insulin and if it is not active enough insulin-insensitive type 2 diabetes can result.

The new discovery, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that p85 can also control the “off switch” for these responses.

“By understanding the connection between the switches that control cell responses for growth and insulin we are able to improve our ability to use anti-cancer therapies to target these switches more effectively,” said Deborah Anderson, Senior Research Scientist with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and a cross appointment in oncology and biochemistry at the University of Saskatchewan.

Funding for this research originally came from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Regional Partnership Program - Saskatchewan (RPP-SK), with matching funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF). The work is currently supported by a five year $648,000 operating grant from the CIHR.

The Anderson team includes Ryaz Chagpar, Philip Links, Chris Pastor, Levi Furber, Andrea Hawrysh and Dean Chamberlain, with University of Saskatchewan biochemistry department and/or Cancer Agency appointments. Salary support for some team members was also provided SHRF and by CIHR/SHRF-RPP.

The Regional Partnership Program (RPP) is offered by CIHR to support the development of health research capacity in a number of provinces, including Saskatchewan.

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For more information, contact:

Gladys Wasylenchuk
Public Affairs
Saskatchewan Cancer Agency
Phone: (306) 791-2144

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