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Paradoxical P2X7

Italian researchers have shown in vivo that inhibiting the P2X7 receptor, rather than agonizing it as previously thought, can treat cancer.1 The findings could open up a new disease area for companies developing P2X7 antagonists to treat pain, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

P2X and P2Y receptors collectively are responsible for mediating cellular responses to extracellular ATP. Multiple groups have identified five P2Y and two P2X receptors in a variety of cancers.2 The teams have shown that growth of the malignant cells were kept in check by ATP agonizing purinergic receptor P2Y G protein-coupled 1 (P2RY1; P2Y1) and P2Y2 (P2RY2) to slow cell proliferation and purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 5

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