By JOHN SAKALA
A University of Zambia (UNZA) Lecturer and Researcher Lubinda Mukololo has identified ways in which the process of cell division in cancer cells can be slowed down.
In his groundbreaking research that has also received funding from The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Dr Mukololo has identified key proteins whose depletion from cancer cells slows down DNA replication and cell growth.
Dr Mukololo who is a Lecturer and Researcher in the School of Medicine at UNZA’s Ridgeway campus, has found that specific proteins called PDS5A, PDS5B, ESCO1, and ESCO2 play an important role in DNA replication and cell division.
Using scientific methods that include DNA combing, he has found that depletion of either PDS5A, PDS5B, ESCO1, or ESCO2 results in delay in DNA replication and a reduction in cancer cell growth.
Dr. Mukololo says this discovery is important as it provides a novel insight into proteins that have the potential to form cancer drug targets.
“The processes such as DNA replication and mitosis (cell division) are some of the crucial cellular events that are usually exploited in cancer drug design. Halting DNA replication and cell division prevents the growth and spread of cancer. Limitless cell division is a contributing factor to the growth and spread of cancer in human bodies” he said.
Meanwhile, UNZA Vice Chancellor Luke Evuta Mumba has congratulated Dr Mukololo for showing commitment to the fight against cancer and receiving funding for his research from The World Academy of Sciences.
Prof Mumba said cancer is a fatal condition that needs urgent attention to combat through research.
He said UNZA is proud that this kind of research was coming from one of its own.
“We are extremely delighted that UNZA is leading in research aimed at fighting cancer. This is an undertaking that will no doubt contribute to improving the lives of millions of people afflicted by cancer world-over.” Prof. Mumba says.
Cancer is a fatal condition that causes cells to divide uncontrollably forming tumors, impairing the immune system and causing other changes that prevent the body from functioning properly.
Dr Lubinda Mukololo an Assistant Dean in charge of Undergraduate Studies in the same school. He holds a Doctorate and Master’s degree in Biochemistry both obtained from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.
His research interests lie in the broad area of Molecular Cancer Research, with a particular interest in DNA replication and Spindle Assembly Checkpoint mechanisms.
This is according to a media statement by UNZA Spokesperson Brenda Bukowa.