Cancer team at TTUHSC finding ‘Light Switch’ for estrogen

Cancer team at TTU finding “Light Switch” for estrogen

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - We continue our focus on this 50th anniversary of the Texas Tech School of Medicine with another look at the science that is evolving over there.

Dr. Kevin Pruitt, Ph.D., a cancer researcher, says his research team at Texas Tech is discovering what could become a game changer in cancer treatment. They’re studying a certain enzyme that produces estrogen, and they’ve learned there is a way to control that enzyme like a light switch…. Turning on or turning down the estrogen.

Dr. Pruitt explains why that is so important. He says, "Estrogen promotes tumor growth and it also makes those tumor cells more resistant to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. We have found that regulatory switch that can turn on or off the enzymatic activity and in doing so, we can actually decrease the amount of estrogen that’s produced in the tumor cells.”

Dr. Pruitt says the finding is not just important to women in fighting breast cancer, since estrogen also fuels colon, liver and lung cancer in women and in men.

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