Protein may help harness tumors

March 30, 2011

New research suggests that a protein associated with wound healing could prove helpful in preventing the spread of tumors or fibrosis, Medical News Today reports.

London - New research suggests that a protein associated with wound healing could prove helpful in preventing the spread of tumors or fibrosis, Medical News Today reports.

Researchers at Imperial College’s Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology say the protein tenascin-C, which plays multiple roles in wound healing, can affect how the protective housing that surrounds each cell develops. When an injury occurs, tenascin-C is activated and attaches to another protein, fibronectin. Together they help to construct the housing, or extracellular matrix, that surrounds each cell.

Investigators systematically determined where tenascin-C and fibronectin bind together, and they identified tenascin-C “domains” that can bind to only one fibronectin fibril apiece. In essence, they found that certain pieces of tenascin-C determine when fibril building should stop, once enough tissue - but not too much - is generated as the wound goes through the healing process.

The findings could be especially useful in creating therapies for conditions characterized by uncontrolled increases in unwanted extracellular matrix, such as in fibrosis, certain cancers and chronic non-healing wounds.

The study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.