Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologists Find Way to Reduce Stem Cell Loss During Cancer Treatment

06.09.2010
Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have discovered that a gene critical for programmed cell death is also important in the loss of adult stem cells, a finding that could help to improve the health and well-being of patients undergoing cancer treatment.

“During chemotherapy or radiation therapy that kills cancer cells by inducing significant DNA damage in their genomes, one of the main side effects for human cancer patients is the depletion of their own adult stem cells, particularly the ones responsible for making new blood and intestine cells. So these patients become anemic, lose appetite and a lot of weight,” said Yang Xu, a professor of biology at UC San Diego who headed the team that published its findings in this week’s advance online issue of the journal Nature Cell Biology. “If we can prevent the loss of stem cells during cancer therapy, that would be very beneficial for these patients.”

Scientists have long known that when normal cells accumulate significant amount of DNA damage, such as during cancer therapy, the tumor suppressor p53 is activated, which leads cells to stop dividing, go into hibernation and undergo a programmed cell death called apoptosis. They’ve also known that a gene called Puma, an acronym for “p53-unregulated modulator of apoptosis,” is critical for p53 to initiate the cell death of DNA-damaged cells.

Using genetically modified mice with persistently activated p53, Xu and his colleagues discovered that, once activated, p53 depletes various adult stem cells, including the ones that are responsible for generating new blood and intestine cells. In addition, Puma is critical for this p53-dependent depletion of various adult stem cells.

“Since p53 is a critical tumor suppressor, you cannot suppress p53 to prevent the depletion of adult stem cells since it will induce cancer,” said Xu. “But you can target Puma to prevent p53-mediated depletion of adult stem cells, because a Puma deficiency does not promote the development of cancer. This gives us a nice target for preventing the p53-dependent depletion of adult stem cells in response to DNA damage. If you can suppress Puma function, you can rescue a lot of the adult stem cells that would otherwise be lost after the accumulation of DNA damage such as during cancer therapy.”

Other co-authors of this paper are Dongping Liu, Linda Ou, Connie Chao and Marshall Lutske of UCSD; Gregory Clemenson and Fred Gage of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Gerard Zambetti of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Media Contact:
Kim McDonald (858) 534-7572, kmcdonald@ucsd.edu
Comment: Yang Xu, (858) 822-1084, yangxu@ucsd.edu

Kim McDonald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>