New Toolkit May Repair DNA Breaks Linked to Aging and Cancer

The newly-discovered protein can 'eat' toxic proteins that damage DNA.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Oxford have discovered a new toolkit that may help repair DNA breaks that are linked to aging, cancer, and even motor neuron disease. The key to this toolkit lies in a protein called TEX264.


Eating toxic proteins

TEX264 has the capacity to and 'eat' toxic proteins that can stick to DNA and cause it to become damaged. This is key to preventing aging, cancer, and neurological diseases as they are caused by a string of broken DNAs.

"Failure to fix DNA breaks in our genome can impact our ability to enjoy a healthy life at an old age, as well as leave us vulnerable to neurological diseases like Motor Neurone Disease (MND)," said Professor Sherif El-Khamisy, Co-Founder and Deputy Director of the Healthy Lifespan Institute at the University of Sheffield and a professor from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Sheffield.

"We hope that by understanding how our cells fix DNA breaks, we can help meet some of these challenges, as well as explore new ways of treating cancer in the future."

Treating cancer

Now, scientists hope they can use this new protein not only to protect us against aging and neurological diseases but also to find a new way to treat cancer.

"Our finding of TEX264, a protein that forms the specialized machinery to digest toxic proteins from our DNA, significantly changes the current understanding of how cells repair the genome and so protect us from accelerated ageing, cancer and neurodegeneration. I believe this discovery has a great potential for cancer therapy in the future and we are already pursuing our research in this direction," said Professor Kristijan Ramadan from the University of Oxford, who co-led the research.

What do you think of this new protein? A promising step toward a better, healthier life or another discovery that likely won't lead anywhere?

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