Dr. Iavarone on the Role of the ID2 Protein in Brain Cancer

Antonio Iavarone, MD

Antonio Iavarone, MD, professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and Neurology, Columbia University, Institute for Cancer Genetics, discusses the role of the ID2 protein in patients with malignant brain tumors.

Inhibitor of DNA binding (ID) proteins are transcriptional regulators that control the timing of cell fate determination and differentiation in stem and progenitor cells during normal development and adult life. A specific protein called ID2 was found to completely disrupt what is known as the most important tumor suppressor pathway, according to Iavarone. That pathway is centered around the Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. Iavarone and his colleagues showed that when the ID2 protein is activated by hypoxia in cancer stem cells, it disrupts that VHL pathway, the function of which is to eliminate and destroy other specific proteins.

This sophisticated molecular analysis can provide guidance for oncologists, says Iavarone, when it comes to designing drugs that will prevent, for example, interactions between the ID2 protein and the VHL pathway.

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