Protein protects against heart damage following cancer treatment

Cancer treatment is hard on the body, however for the patient to endure cancer, it is mostly necessary to undergo the treatment.

Protein protects against heart damage following cancer treatment, says study
The protein NOR-1 appears to provide broad protection against heart damage following cancer treatment. Image Credit: Shutterstock, NTB.

Certain medications effective against cancer might cause serious side effects—one among those is inducing heart damage.

At present, there are no known approaches to decrease reduce the risk of this side effect. However, this might not be the case any longer.

We’ve observed that the NOR-1 protein can provide broad protection against heart damage following cancer treatment.”

Morten Høydal, Researcher, Department of Circulation and Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Morten Høydal heads the Group of Cellular and Molecular Cardiology (GMC). The observations of the study were published in the Biomedicines journal.

Protein is triggered by exercise

Among the cancer treatment methods, the one that enhances the risk of heart damage is the cytotoxic drug Doxorubicin, or DOX. This cytotoxin also attacks healthy cells along with those in the heart, which results in negative impacts.

The protein “Neuron-derived orphan receptor 1,” or NOR-1, has been known earlier to be effective when a patient endures from hypoxia or oxygen deficiency. By administering NOR-1, the survival of most cells can be ensured.

This protein is seen naturally in the body and is induced during exercise. Exercise is vital to decrease the risk of heart problems, however, it is observed that by directly supplying the protein, the heart risk can be decreased—at least in the lab studies.

Tested on cells

The scientists employed different approaches to analyzing the effect of the protein on human cells under lab conditions.

These experiments showed that fewer cells died and instead stayed healthy.”

Morten Høydal, Researcher, Department of Circulation and Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

NOR-1 counteracts some of the negative impacts on cells that DOX induces, including those in the heart.

Our findings show that NOR-1 can protect the heart after this type of cancer treatment.”

Morten Høydal, Researcher, Department of Circulation and Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The research is in the laboratory stage, and further studies are required, however, the results are promising so far.

Source:
Journal reference:

Berg, P.-C., et al. (2021) Overexpression of Neuron-Derived Orphan Receptor 1 (NOR-1) Rescues Cardiomyocytes from Cell Death and Improves Viability after Doxorubicin Induced Stress. Biomedicines. doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9091233.

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