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Cancer therapy at new heights- A new signaling pathway identified!

Cancer therapy at new heights- A new signaling pathway identified!

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In Summary

A crucial signaling pathway was identified and studied by a group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin, which is found to eliminate and kill cancer cells when the signaling pathway is blocked. 

Editor Posted by Ansheed

The vital signaling pathway.

A group of scientists from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in association with Carbone Cancer Center recently concluded a study which has vital clues regarding one of the signaling pathway which has some great significance in the therapeutic context of cancer. They identified a key pro-growth signaling pathway which is present in almost cancer types, when blocked or interrupted, destroys the cancerous cell. The best part is that only cancerous cells are killed in the process leaving the healthy cells unharmed. 

The PIP3 growth messenger

In the growth signaling process, the growth signal is initiated by an agonist (a substance which triggers some physiological reaction when bound to some receptors) outside of the cell when they are bind to the receptors on the cell surface. This signaling cascade finally generated growth signaling molecules called as PIP3.

A couple of years back, a study from Wisconsin- Madison University showed that even after this agonist-receptor combination is pulled inside the cell, repossessed by endosomes they continue their signaling.  They were supposed to be degraded inside the cell, but it seems the contrary is happening. According to the dogma, once inside the cell for degradation no PIP3 should be made or signaled, which made the scientist’s think & carry with this study.

The PI3K pathway. 

It is the cascade of signaling pathway which finally produce the messenger molecule PIP3. One problem that scientists confronted was that contrary to the fact the signaling molecule progressively increase in each level of signaling, here in the PI3K pathway the intermediate molecules were lower. In order to overcome this problem, they used a scaffold protein complex called as IQGAP1, which arranged all signaling molecules in a row and push them as into the pathway. Now using a competitor molecule, they disturbed and blocked the PI3K pathway, thus no PIP3 was formed.

Scientists observed that obstructing PI3K pathway did kill the cancerous cells, leaving healthy and normal cells unharmed. Thus they established the vital link about the cancer cells and their need for PI3K pathway for survival. Many pharmaceutical companies are desperately working on this ideology to suppress cancer. In the near future, scientist hopes to unlock rest of the puzzle and eradicate cancer on a global level.


Suyong Choi, Andrew C. Hedman, Samar Sayedyahossein, Narendra Thapa, David B. Sacks, Richard A. Anderson. Agonist-stimulated phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate generation by scaffolded phosphoinositide kinasesNature Cell Biology, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/ncb3441