Narrator: This is Science Today. Insulin receptors are proteins found in many tissues including the liver, eye, kidney and mammary glands. These receptors bind to the hormone insulin and regulate growth and metabolism within the cells. Ira Goldfine, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, likens the process to a lock and key.
Goldfine: The receptor is unactivated and then the insulin binds to it and when the insulin binds, it turns the key. It activates this receptor and then the receptor tells the machinery inside a cell what to do.
Narrator: In breast cancer research, Goldfine found insulin receptors in mammary tissue may have predictive value in determining a recurrence of cancer.
Goldfine: The overall result was that if an individual had a tumor and the tumor had no insulin receptors or undetectable insulin receptors, then they have been there were below the level of detect ability. Then their outcome, as far as disease-free survival, was significantly worse than individuals who had detectable receptors.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.