"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 (email@example.com)
Krista Conger | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering