Seoul: South Korean medical scientists claimed to have identified a new protein that is linked to causing lung cancer.
Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma, is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Symptoms of lung cancer include – cough (often with blood), shortness of breath, chest pain, weight loss, fatigue, wheezing, headache and bone pain.
Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to certain chemicals, air pollution, family history, previous lung disease are other risk factors for lung cancer.
The study led by Chang-hwan Lee of the University of Ulsan College of Medicine discovered that the protein called USE1 was more frequently found in lung cancer patients after analysing their DNA.
“The centrepiece of the research is that we discovered the core protein related to lung cancer,” said Lee.
The research said that USE1 proteins are frequently overexpressed in lung cancer, and missense mutations in USE1 prolong the half-life of the protein, promoting tumour formation.
The discoveries can be further used for the development of novel drugs for lung cancer treatment, said South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning that funded the research.
Every year, more than 1 million people die because of lung cancer across the globe as an early diagnosis of the deadly disease is difficult due to the lack of symptoms.
According to Mayo Clinic, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, among both men and women, claiming more lives each year than do colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.
The research has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.