New Tuft cell discovery could result in treating Lung Cancer: Study

In 2018, a new type of small cell lung cancer was discovered by Professor Christopher Vakoc's team at CSHL (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory). The team revealed how the tufted cells are developed in the body and how interfering with developing tufted cells could be a new way of treating deadly lung cancer.

Cancer starts in cells which are known as tufted cells. These cells help the body to be protected against infections. Known for their bristly tuft, the tuft cells are armed with taste receptors for detecting invaders.

According to the research, a protein known as POU2F3 must link with the OCA-T protein for developing tuft cells.

Disordered tuft cell development in the body is expected to be having fewer side effects, especially in adult patients with lung cancer.

The only side effect expected here is that if the interaction is broken, then the tuft cells will be lost, explains Xiaoli Wu, who conducted the study as a Stony Book University student-in-residence graduate at CSHL.

This could make the patients more susceptible to getting infected with certain parasites, including roundworms. However, Wu notifies that worm infections are generally not a major health concern in adult patients suffering from cancer undertaking chemotherapy.

The way both the proteins collaborate is surprising, says Wu. Before this learning, POU2F3 was thought of as working alone in producing cancerous and normal tuft cells. The surprise that came from this study was that POU2F3 is an equal partner in carrying out this important task.

The finding of this protein interaction implies that more targeted and better treatments may be within the scope of tuft cell lung cancer.

Wu says that the interaction may be a weak point of these tumors. However, it also places a strong base for future tuft cell cancer research. Additionally, this publication will be a launchpad for future research.

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