"It appears to be acting as a tumor suppressor by negatively controlling blood vessel formation," said cancer biologist Amato Giaccia, PhD, the Jack, Lulu and Sam Willson Professor and professor of radiation oncology. He and his colleagues are hopeful that targeting the downstream molecules activated when PHD2 levels are low may be an effective treatment for a variety of human cancers.
Giaccia is the senior author of the research, which will be published in the June 2 issue of the journal Cancer Cell. He is also a member of Stanford's Cancer Center.
The finding was particularly surprising because PHD2 was already known to play a less-direct role in blood vessel formation: that of destabilizing another important cancer-associated protein, HIF-1. HIF-1, which stimulates blood vessel development, is induced by the low oxygen levels found in many solid tumors. Although the HIF-1 molecule is rarely modified in human cancers, its levels are often elevated as compared to normal tissue. Giaccia and his colleagues wondered if the higher levels of HIF-1 could be explained by decreases in the level of PHD2.
The researchers measured PHD2 levels in several human tumor samples, including breast and colon cancers, and compared them with surrounding tissue. They found that, in many cancers, the tumors did have lower-than-normal levels of PHD2. They then inhibited the expression of PHD2 in a variety of human cancer cells in the lab, transplanted these cells into mice with compromised immune systems and examined the tumors that resulted. Those arising from cells in which PHD2 expression had been blocked grew more quickly and were more highly vascularized than the unmodified control cells.
Surprisingly, however, these effects of PHD2 inhibition were evident even in cells engineered not to express HIF-1. "Nobody expected this," said Giaccia. "It's always been thought that the major role of PHD2 was in regulating HIF-1 activity. But now we've learned that it seems to control tumor growth through blood vessel formation in a variety of different cell types on its own."
Upon further investigation, the researchers learned that blocking PHD2 expression increases the levels of two other important proteins involved in vessel formation: IL-8 and angiogenin. The researchers believe that blocking the activity of these proteins may be a good way to stunt tumor growth. "Prior to this study," said Giaccia, "it was unclear which of the many proteins involved in vessel growth, or angiogenesis, should be targeted. But now we know they play a predominant role in tumor growth."
He and his colleagues are planning to continue their studies in laboratory mice engineered to develop breast cancer. They will investigate whether a version of the mice lacking PHD2 expression develops more aggressive tumors, and whether blocking IL-8 or angiogenin slows tumor growth.
In addition to Giaccia, other Stanford researchers involved in the work include postdoctoral scholar Denise Chan, PhD; graduate student Tiara Kawahara; and associate professor of dermatology Howard Chang, MD, PhD. The study was funded by a Silicon Valley Community Fellowship, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.
The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation's top 10 medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit http://mednews.stanford.edu. The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includes Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. For information about all three, please visit http://stanfordmedicine.org/about/news.html.PRINT MEDIA CONTACT: Krista Conger at (650) 725-5371 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Krista Conger | EurekAlert!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences