Scientists discover protein against tumours

Lactoferrin is present in human milk, tears, saliva and urine.

Illustrative Stock PhotoIllustrative Stock Photo (Source: Ján Krošlák, SME)

Scientists from the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) and Medical University of Vienna discovered an unknown function of the protein lactoferrin present in human milk as well as in tears, saliva and urine.

Their discovery could be useful not only for developing new therapeutic methods to heal tumours but also for treating Lyme Borreliosis.

“The plasminogen system is essential for dissolution of fibrin clots, and in addition, it is involved in a wide variety of other physiological processes, including proteolytic activation of growth factors, cell migration, and removal of protein aggregates. On the other hand, uncontrolled plasminogen activation contributes to many pathological processes, e.g. tumor cells' invasion in cancer progression,” the scientists write in the abstract of their work.

“We show that human lactoferrin, an iron-binding milk glycoprotein, blocks plasminogen activation on the cell surface by direct binding to human plasminogen,” the abstract continues.

Vladimír Leksa, from the Institute of Molecular Biology, said that their results will significantly help in understanding many antimicrobic, antitumoral and immune-modulating activities of lactoferrin and underline it usefulness as a therapeutic tool.

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