Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery in cell signaling could help fight against melanoma

11.05.2012
The human body does a great job of generating new cells to replace dead ones but it is not perfect. Cells need to communicate with or signal to each other to decide when to generate new cells. Communication or signaling errors in cells lead to uncontrolled cell growth and are the basis of many cancers.
At The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, scientists have made a key discovery in cell signaling that is relevant to the fight against melanoma skin cancer and certain other fast-spreading tumors.

The scientists report that they have discovered why a class of drug called BRaf inhibitors that are widely used to treat melanomas do not always work and most importantly how these drugs may potentially accelerate cancer growth in certain patients. Melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, accounts for almost 9,000 deaths each year. The scientistsf research was published online ahead of the June 5 print issue of Current Biology, which is published by Cell Press.

gThis information may aid the development of more effective anti-cancer drugs and better inform the choice of new combinations of drugs,h said John Hancock, M.B, B.Chir, Ph.D., the studyfs senior author, John S. Dunn Distinguished University Chair in Physiology and Medicine, chairman of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology and interim director of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at the UTHealth Medical School.

Growth signals are transmitted from a cellfs surface to the nucleus by a chain of proteins that form a signaling pathway. The command for cells to divide to generate new cells is relayed by a chain of four proteins (Ras ¨ BRaf ¨ MEK ¨ ERK). All cells have this pathway and it does an effective job of generating new cells most of time.

Problems happen when a mutation occurs in one of the first two proteins in the chain - both of which lock the signaling pathway in the gonh position. The good news is that doctors have drugs that block signaling from the second protein known as BRaf. These are the BRaf inhibitors, which are successful at treating melanomas with mutant BRaf proteins.

The not-so-good news is that doctors cannot block the signal from the first protein called Ras. Researchers therefore studied in vivo what happens when BRaf inhibitors are applied to human cancer tissues with Ras mutations.

gSurprisingly recent studies found that BRaf inhibitors do not block signaling in melanoma cells with Ras mutations. In fact, the drugs actually enhance the abnormal signaling activity. Our work now describes the mechanism for this seemingly paradoxical enhanced signaling activity,h said Kwang-jin Cho, Ph.D., the studyfs lead author and research fellow at the UTHealth Medical School.

Most melanomas isolated from patients turn out to have either a BRaf or Ras mutation but rarely have both. Ras mutations cause an otherwise normal BRaf protein to stay switched on.

gOur study also emphasizes the importance of genetic testing of melanomas before using BRaf inhibitors. Our study may also help design a better drug,h Cho said.

The study, which is titled gRaf inhibitors target Ras spatiotemporal dynamics,h was supported by the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas.

Hancock and Chofs co-authors from the UTHealth Medical School are: Jin-Hee Park, senior research assistant; Sravanthi Chigurupati, senior research assistant; Dharini van der Hoeven, Ph.D., research fellow; and Sarah J. Plowman, Ph.D., assistant professor.

Other collaborators include: Rinshi S. Kasai, Ph.D., and Akihiro Kusumi, Ph.D., Kyoto University, Japan; and Sonja J. Heidorn, Ph.D., and Richard Marais, Ph.D., Institute for Cancer Research, London.
Rob Cahill
Media Hotline: 713-500-3030

Robert Cahill | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uthouston.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Research team creates new possibilities for medicine and materials sciences
22.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
22.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>