• Question: Could your research be used to cure diseases like cancer?

    Asked by rcook18 to Stephen on 13 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Stephen Curry

      Stephen Curry answered on 13 Jun 2010:

      Not directly. Most of the work that I do is about understanding how biological molecules (mostly proteins) work. And most of the proteins we study are not involved in processes related to cancer.

      A couple of years ago, quite by accident, we stumbled across a protein that is involved in cancer. It’s called Ebp1. We got interested in it because it’s a protein that the foot-and-mouth disease virus recruits to help it infect cells in cows and pigs. But the normal function of Epb1 is to help control how the cell uses its genes – when this malfunctions, you can get cancer.

      Our work revealed for the first time exactly what the protein looked like. Once we published it in a scientific journal, all the scientists in the world could read about it. Some of them are working on how Ebp1 is linked to cancer, so our results probably helped them with their experiments.

      That is one of the truly great things about science – we share our results for free so that everybody benefits from them.