For cancer cells to grow and spread around the human body, they need proteins that bind copper ions. New research about how cancer-related proteins bind the metal and how they interact with other proteins, opens up potential new drug targets in the fight against cancer. Human cells need small amounts of the metal copper to be able to carry out vital biological processes. Studies have shown that the level of copper in tumor cells and blood serum from cancer patients is elevated, and the conclusion is that cancer cells need more copper than healthy cells. Higher levels of copper also mean more active copper-binding proteins. "Therefore, these proteins are highly important to study when it comes to understanding the development of cancer and deeper knowledge about them can lead to new targets for treatment of the disease," says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, PhD, Professor of Chemical Biology at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
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