This "transcriptional regulator" is called CTIP2, and in recent research has been demonstrated to be a master regulator that has important roles in many biological functions, ranging from the proper development of enamel on teeth to skin formation and the possible treatment of eczema or psoriasis.
In the newest study, published today in PLoS ONE, a professional journal, scientists found for the first time that levels of CTIP2 were more than five times higher in the "poorly differentiated" tumor cells that caused the most deadly types of squamous cell carcinomas in the larynx, throat, tongue and other parts of the head. There was a high correlation between greater CTIP2 expression and the aggressive nature of the cancer.
Head and neck squamous cell cancers are the sixth most common cancers in the world, the researchers said in their study, and a significant cause of mortality. In 2008, cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx alone accounted for 35,310 new cases in the United States and 7,590 deaths. They have been linked to such things as tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
"Serious head and throat cancer is pretty common, and mortality rates from it haven't improved much in 20 years, despite new types of treatments," said Gitali Indra, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy. "With these new findings, we believe it should be possible to create an early screening and diagnostic tool to spot these cancers earlier, tell physicians which ones need the most aggressive treatments and which are most apt to recur."
It's also possible the work may lead to new therapeutic approaches, researchers say.
"It's not completely clear yet whether the higher levels of CTIP2 expression are a consequence of cancer, or part of the cause," said Arup Indra, also an OSU assistant professor of pharmacy. "However, we strongly suspect that it's causally related. If that's true, then therapies that could block production of CTIP2 may provide a new therapeutic approach to this type of cancer."
That this genetic regulator could be involved in both skin development and these types of cancer makes some sense, the scientists said – both originate from epithelial cells.
It's also possible, the study found, that CTIP2 works to help regulate the growth of what is believed to be a cancer "stem" or "progenitor" cell, which has a greater potential to generate tumors through the stem cell processes of self-renewal and differentiation into multiple cell types. Therefore, targeting cancer stem cells holds promise for improvement of survival and quality of life of cancer patients.
This research was partly supported by a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The work was done in collaboration with researchers in the Cancer Institute in Strasbourg, France.
Editor's Note: A digital image is available to illustrate this story. The figure in "A" shows a very low level of CTIP2 expression in normal human epithelia, while "B" shows a significant increase in expression in aggressive head and neck cancer: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/photos/hnscc.JPG
Gitali Indra | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
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...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy