Cancer drug found hiding in sunflower seed protein

Scientists have found sunflower proteins and their processing machinery are hijacked to make rogue protein rings in a discovery that could open the door to cheaper, plant-based drug manufacturing.

The study, published overnight in the international journal Nature Chemical Biology, showed that the machinery used to process and mature otherwise dull seed storage proteins is commandeered by a protein ring, SFTI, for its own use.While this work is of interest to researchers by providing an understanding of how new proteins can evolve and how proteins are matured, it has wider applications for drug production. SFTI can be used in its natural form to block breast cancer enzymes, and in a modified form to block enzymes associated with other types of cancer.

These proteins have not been broadly adopted by drug designers despite their potential to fight cancer because of the expense of producing them using traditional, synthetic manufacturing methods. Read more…

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