Research IDs proteins that impact both infertility and cancer

A team of Rutgers-led researchers has found three proteins that may play an important role in both female fertility and cancer biology. The unexpected complexity in how these proteins regulate one another does not occur in any other healthy cell type, said study senior author Karen Schindler, an associate professor who specializes in infertility research in the Department of Genetics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

This research, published in the journal Current Biology, could provide a way to diagnose and perhaps treat certain types of infertility that end in early miscarriage, said Schindler. “This work also impacts cancer biology research because we suspect that the inter-protein regulation that occurs in eggs also occurs in certain types of aggressive cancers. Therefore, the findings could be useful in thinking about precision medicine treatments for cancer patients.”

The next steps for reproductive biology include studying the genomes of infertile patients to see if mutations in their genes represent a significant percentage of the patient population with poor outcomes in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic, Schindler said. The next steps for cancer biology include carefully evaluating cancers that have all three proteins and finding ways to harness their interactive regulation into a cancer therapeutic.

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