Examining the effect of elimination of cancer-associated tropomyosin on whole body, organ and tissue function.
Alterations to a cell’s internal skeleton, the cytoskeleton, are a characteristic feature of cancer cells and are critical for the process of metastases. An important component of the cell’s cytoskeleton is the actin filament network.
The team at UNSW, Sydney, under Professor Hardeman, identified a specific set of actin filaments, defined by the protein tropomyosin, that are present in normal cells and enriched in cancer cells. These filaments are therefore very attractive targets for anti-cancer therapies.
In this project, the Hardeman group examine the effect of disrupting these filaments in noncancerous tissues and organs. These studies are an important step in assessing whether drugs targeting these cancer-associated filaments are likely to have undesirable effects on noncancerous tissues.