Purdue University LogoJust few days back we reported that cancer origin and treatment was seemingly explained by a protein found in pregnant lizards. Experts from Purdue University highlight the proteins required to examine how cancer cells form by adopting a newly developed technique and synthetic nanopolymer can now be retained.

These proteins are known as phosphoproteins and can be found and examined to identify ways to hamper processes that cause cancer. However the concern is to find these proteins. Experts formed and patented the polymer-based metal-ion affinity capture (PolyMAC). The proteins and peptides that have undergone a process called phosphorylation are separated by the synthetic nanopolymer. These proteins and peptides are greatly associated with cancer and a patented method permits experts to avail of these proteins.

“You really want to capture these particular proteins, but there are so many different types of proteins around them. The target proteins are a thousand times lower in amount than other proteins. They are difficult to study without the capturing step,” mentions W. Andy Tao, an assistant professor of biochemistry.

As we are familiar that normal cells grow, fragment and further die, cancer cells continue to grow and do not die. Phosphorylation is generally held responsible for production of cancer cells. In this process enzymes known as kinase attach and catalyze a protein on a cell.

Tao elucidates, “Once you put the nanopolymer in the solution, you have to retrieve them, so we put a handle on the polymer so we can grab on to it and fish it out of the solution. This technique is very useful and can be used widely in research for cancer as well as infectious diseases.”

Nanopolymer is water-soluble and has titanium ions on its surface, this combines with phosphorylated proteins and peptides present in a solution. The polymer also has a chemical group attached that is reactive and attached to small beads, which permits experts to recover the polymers. This method separated twice as many proteins that had been phosphorylated by an enzyme highly expressed in certain leukemia cells but lacking in metastatic breast cancer cells.

Experts now seek opportunities to get the polymer and these methods into wider use to assist in the formation of new cancer drugs.

These findings were published in the online version of the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics.