Cancer cells often corrupt normal cellular molecules and processes in
order to multiply and grow out of control. Scientists now report that the
majority of tumors rev up production of a normal protein to help protect malignant
cells from the effects of anticancer drugs (Cancer Cell. 2004;5:163-175).
The protein that confers this drug resistance is MUC1, a member of the
mucin family. Few researchers have paid much attention to these proteins,
said study author Donald Kufe, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in
Boston. "Mucins aren't very interesting—they make up mucus," he said.
But their overabundance in many different kinds of cancers "was enough to
keep us working on it."
Hampton T. Researchers Identify Protein That Helps Tumor Cells Resist Cancer Drugs. JAMA. 2004;291(12):1433. doi:10.1001/jama.291.12.1433