Further insight into cancer treatment using IAP inhibitors has been developed with the identification of the role of XIAP inhibitor drugs.
Researchers led by Professor Andreas Strasser from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute found that the X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis, or XIAP protein, is the crucial factor in determining whether a process to rid the body of cancer-causing cells takes place.
Cell death is triggered by surface proteins, usually FAS, but in liver or pancreatic cells, which are not type 1 cells, the process is not straightforward.
Professor Strasser commented: "One of the things that's very curious about FAS is that, depending on the cell type, the way the killing of the cell happens is substantially different.
"In so-called type I cells, such as lymphocytes (white blood cells involved in the immune response), the killing is very direct.
"When FAS is activated a protein-destroying enzyme called caspase-8 is recruited and activated, leading to activation of other enzymes (effector caspases) and rapid cell demolition."
In other news, €2 million is to be invested in a University of Dundee-led project to develop cancer treatments using drug nano-capsules and MRI-guided Focused Ultrasound.