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New Drug Essentially Stops Cell Growth in Cancer

Cancer drugs usually halt the cell growth by trying to control the pathway that manufactures the thousands of proteins. The researchers at UC Berkeley have discovered a drug that targets that pathway in part by controlling the production of a small percent of the body’s proteins which are important in regulating the growth of cells.

How does eIF3d work?

The protein eIF3d that is part of a bigger mRNA binding protein has a secret door which is protected by a string of amino acids. The eIF3d binds to a subsection of mRNA’s which rearranges the proteins and opens the door. The chemical handle is now bound to the end of the mRNA and translation takes place.

The protein that was targeted binds to the mRNA, which is the blueprint of a cell to make protein, and will help it start production that will end in a complete protein. The drug could stop the translation of only the proteins that are growth-promoting and not the life-critical proteins which are inside the cell.


The cancer cells that are producing too many mRNA’s could be stopped by preventing them from making proteins using the mRNA. This binding is not used for protein production in general, but a more specific anti-cancer effect is available to target that alone.

The protein is a part of an assembly of proteins that is called eukaryotic initiation factor 3 - eIF3 – and has been studied for close to 50 years already. Researchers and scientists did not expect the role played in a cell which may be due to the elF3’s ability to control mRNA communication that is only turned on when bound with the set of specialized mRNA’s.

The secret door in eIF3d

Scientists have been now able to trigger this secret door which the eIF3d protein contains. A new binding site is available for a chemical handle when mRNA which is involved with cell growth and binds to the elF3d. this secret door triggers only a special section of mRNA’s that produce a small amount of 500 instead of the 10,000 mRNA’s that play a huge role in cancer and other diseases as well as animals and plants. Looking at other organisms to discover what their mRNA’s protein regulate in different systems could give scientist huge breakthroughs.

In plain sight

Cancer is known because of the uncontrolled growth of cells. Simply this means the protein production goes into a speed frenzy providing the materials to build systems for new cells. Biologists have studied proteins for decades to uncover how the genes are transcribed by the proteins into mRNA’s and how this is read into a translation for the functioning protein.

The cells do not control how their handle is used but get out of control and cause cancer. This was thought to be as a result of the elF4e that bound to the handle until it was discovered that certain specialized subsections of mRNA’s which are linked to cancer are triggered by a protein in elF3. Previously the protein was believed to be just one of those general protein’s that are required for mRNA translation. A combination of 13 separate proteins binds a three-dimensional structure which can only be found in a special subsection of the mRNA’s. they were hiding in plain sight.