January 2019: Shiloh: A new cancer biomarker indicates prognosis and treatment
A new study led by Prof. Yossi Shiloh, Edmond J. Safra member (School of Medicine) identifies elevated levels of a protein called ubiquilin-4 as a new biomarker for genome instability.
Our DNA is under constant attack. The delicate molecule that contains our genetic information is extremely vulnerable to everything from environmental agents such as radiation to the chemicals in the air we breathe and the food we eat. Genome instability can lead to genetic disorders, chronic diseases and a predisposition to cancer.
A new study identifies elevated levels of a protein called ubiquilin-4 as a new biomarker for genome instability. The study finds that ubiquilin-4 takes part in defending the genome from DNA damage, but too much ubiquilin-4 is harmful. When the amount of ubiquilin-4 rises in tumor cells, the cells become more prone to genome instability, accelerating the tumor’s progression and making it resistant to commonly used cancer treatments.
The study, published in Cell, was led by Prof. Yossi Shiloh, Edmond J. Safra member (School of Medicine), in close collaboration with Prof. Christian Reinhardt of University Hospital Cologne and University of Cologne.
“This novel biomarker provides new, critical information about the tumor stage and grade, as well as the patient’s chances of responding to treatment,” says Prof. Shiloh to Hebrew news site Walla. “Tumors with high levels of ubiquilin-4 may be more resistant to radiation and some chemotherapies than those with normal levels of this protein. But the good news is that they may also respond better to other types of cancer therapy. Obviously, this is vital information for clinicians and patients.”