Using the Structure of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor to Fight Cancer


September 10, 2010

Penn Medicine News Release

PHILADELPHIA - Many types of tumors grow because of over-expression or a mutation of a protein called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), normally regulated by a hormone-like peptide called the epidermal growth factor (EGF). Several cancer drugs, including Herceptin, Erbitux, Iressa and Tarceva fight tumors by blocking EGFR and related receptors, notes Mark A. Lemmon, PhD, Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

EGFR has a split personality at the cell surface, with two different classes (high-affinity and low-affinity), whose origins have been a mystery since the 1970s. Now, a new paper from the Lemmon lab published recently in Cell explains the difference between these two classes by examining the structure of EGFR and its interactions with EGF... Read More