Scientists are now hopeful for treating certain cancers including the breast cancer at the molecular level. The startling new discovery about a protein known as Rictor has revealed that it plays a vital role in destroying AKT like oncogenes. The study had been conducted by the researchers associated with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). The details of their findings have been published in the ‘Molecular Cell’ of September 2010.
The AKT like oncogenic structure has been named as SGK1 and resembles the former quite closely revealed Wenyi Wei, one of the senior authors of the study. Wei went on to add that while the two proteins were found to be very closely related, they do have a crucial difference as well. AKT is a long living protein while SGK1 has a very short life span making it more powerful!
Previous study results had already discovered that mTORC2, a multi protein complex formed by Rictor has the potential to activate both AKT and SGK1. The research team led by Wei found that the SGK1 levels kept increasing even when Rictor was absent. This presented a dilemma as the scientists failed to understand how the levels increased when protein kinase was not present. The results showed that the levels were not actually enhanced but it was the SGK1 which lived for a longer period. This suggested that Rictor had a prominent role in destroying SGK1.
The significance of this particular find can have an enormous impact. SGK1 plays an important role in cell growth and cell death and is frequently associated with human cancer. Marion Zatz of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) believes that detecting the faulty regulation of Rictor can help us to form a better understanding of cancer thereby improving our ability to treat the disease.
The exact role of the SGK1 in the growth of cancerous tumors is, however, still not very clear.
Source: Public release by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center on 28th October 2010