Metastasis is responsible for 90 percent of cancer-related deaths. More than 575,000 Americans die of cancer each year, the second leading cause of death in the United States after cardiovascular disease.
This image shows metastasized human breast cancer cells (magnified 400 times, stained brown) in lymph nodes. Credit: Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute
The scientists, led by principal investigator Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research at UC San Diego, discovered an association between the protein, called Receptor-tyrosine-kinase-like Orphan Receptor 1 or ROR1, and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that occurs during embryogenesis when cells migrate and then grow into new organs during early development.
In research published in 2012, Kipps and colleagues reported for the first time that ROR1 is expressed during embryogenesis and by many different types of cancers, but not by normal post-partum tissues. They also discovered that silencing the protein impaired the growth and survival of human breast cancer cells.
In their latest work, the scientists found that high-level expression of ROR1 in breast cancer cells correlates to higher rates of relapse and metastasis in patients with breast adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that originates in glandular tissue. Conversely, silencing expression of ROR1 reverses EMT and inhibits the metastatic spread of breast cancer cells in animal models. Moreover, the researchers found that treatment with a monoclonal antibody targeting ROR1 also could inhibit the growth and spread of highly metastatic tumors that express ROR1.
"We might think of ROR1 as an oncogene," said study co-author Bing Cui, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Kipps' lab. "This means ROR1 has some tumor initiation functions. However, ROR1 also appears to allow transformed cells to invade other tissues and to promote tumor expansion in both the primary tumor site and in distant organs."
Because ROR1 is expressed only in cancer cells, Kipps' team says it presents a singular, selective target for anti-cancer therapies that would leave normal cells unaffected. It's not yet clear how the monoclonal antibody approach, tested thus far only in culture and animal models, impacts primary tumors, said Cui, but it does offer promise for inhibiting the spread of cancer. The researchers are developing a humanized monoclonal antibody for potential clinical studies in patients with cancers that express ROR1.
Co-authors are Suping Zhang, Liguang Chen, Jianqiang Yu, George F. Widhopf II, Jessie F. Fecteau and Laura Z. Rassenti, all of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and the Department of Medicine, UCSD.
Funding for this research came, in part, from the National Institutes of Health (grant PO1-CA081534), the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine and the Blood Cancer Research Fund, UC San Diego Foundation.
Scott LaFee | EurekAlert!
Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel
Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Information Technology
24.05.2017 | Awards Funding