Targeting Protein Kinase C in Colorectal Cancer

Key Information

Researcher: 
Cancer type: 
Colorectal
Research Institution: 
University of Limerick
Grant Amount: 
€139,100
Start date: 
October 1, 2012
End date: 
September 30, 2016

Scientific Project Abstract

Imagine a basketball team, made up of five players on the court, six substitutes and a coach. The players are constantly trying to come up with a new play to break down the opponents defence. To help, the coach intervenes by substituting players. The new players coming on are not weaker or better than the other players, they have different strengths, offering a different 'play' and a new problem for the defence. The coach changes the players until they come up with a new way to break down the defence. PKCs are like the basketball players. There are several different types called isozymes and they have different qualities. In a cancer cell, the team of PKCs on the court are trying to break through the opponents defence. The coach is RACK1, organising the PKCs on the court, signalling to them to change their play to find that winning formula. In cancer, that winning formula is bad news because when they find it, they now have the ability to break down the host defence and develop into a tumour that can spread and kill. Our objective here is to come up with a new defence to overcome this winning formula.

For the non-scientist

One-line description: 
Investigating if altered activity of a cancer-promoting molecule is a marker for the early detection of colon cancer
What this project involves: 
This project aims to identify new biomarkers which may help in the early detection of colon cancer. A group of enzymes called PKC kinases have been shown to play a role in colon cancer progression and it is thought that changes in the activity and subcellular localisation of these enzymes plays a role in conversion of normal colon cells to cancerous colon cells. The aim of this project is to identify if this change in activity and localisation of PKC kinases could be used as a marker of early colon cancer detection.