GRP78 Protein Acts as Universal Therapeutic Target for Infections and Cancer

A research team led by scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University reports that a protein called GRP78 could be a universal therapeutic target for treating human diseases such as brain cancer, Ebola, Influenza, hepatitis, and superbug bacteria such as MRSE and MRSA. The preclinical study, “GRP78/BiP/HSPA5/Dna K is a universal therapeutic target for human disease”, is published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

By using a drug combination of the clinically tested OSU-03012 (AR-12) and FDA-approved Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis) to target GRP78 and related proteins, researchers prevented the replication of a variety of major viruses in infected cells, made antibiotic-resistant bacteria vulnerable to common antibiotics and found evidence that brain cancer stem cells were killed. Data were obtained in multiple brain cancer stem cell types, and using Influenza, Mumps, Measles, Rubella, RSV, CMV, Adenovirus, Coxsakie virus, Chikungunya, Ebola, Hepatitis, E. coli, MRSA, MRSE, and N. gonorrhoeae, among others.

"Basically, we've got a concept that by attacking GRP78 and related proteins: (a) we hurt cancer cells; (b) we inhibit the ability of viruses to infect and to reproduce; and (c) we are able to kill superbug antibiotic-resistant bacteria," said  Paul Dent, Ph.D., professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology at VCU School of Medicine, and universal chair for signal transduction.

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