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NF1 Researchers Identify a Potential Therapeutic Target for MPNSTs

In a recent study by Qin et al., Dr. Angela Hirbe and her team identified TYK2 as a protein that is highly expressed in MPNSTs.  This protein often signals in cancer cells to help them grow. Dr. Hirbe’s group explored the function of TYK2 in MPNSTs by decreasing the levels of TYK2 in MPNST cells and were able to demonstrate that reduction in levels of TYK2 led to increased cell death in cancer cells in the lab. Additionally, reduction in levels of TYK2 resulted in decreased tumor growth in two different cancer models in mice. This exciting data suggests that TYK2 could be a viable therapeutic target for this aggressive sarcoma for which we desperately need therapies.

Qin W, Godec A, Zhang X, Zhu C, Shao J, Tao Y, Bu X, Hirbe AC. TYK2 promotes malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor progression through inhibition of cell death. Cancer Med. 2019 Sep;8(11):5232-5241. doi: 10.1002/cam4.2386. Epub 2019 Jul 6. PMID:31278855