Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GUMC researchers find gene function 'lost' in melanoma and glioblastoma

16.12.2008
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found a gene they say is inactivated in two aggressive cancers – malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer, and glioblastoma multiforme, a lethal brain tumor.

They add that because this gene, known as PTPRD, has recently been found to be inactivated in several other cancers as well, their discovery suggests that PTPRD may play a tumor suppressor role in a wide variety of different cancers.

The findings are published in the December 15 issue of Cancer Research.

"Over the past decade several dozen tumor suppressor genes have been identified, but only a minority of them is important in causing many different tumor types. PTPRD seems to be one of these broad spectrum tumor suppressor genes," says the study's lead investigator, Todd Waldman, MD, PhD, an associate professor of oncology at Georgetown's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

If the hypothesis is true – and Waldman and his team are now investigating loss of PTPRD in a number of additional cancers – then it may be possible to design a therapy that has wide applicability in oncology, he says.

"Most targeted cancer drugs today work by inhibiting gene products that are overactive in cancer cells. In this case, it is loss of the PTPRD gene that leads to cancer," Waldman says. "Therefore, we are trying to discover the molecules that PTPRD's protein controls, and then we plan to target these downstream molecules with a novel agent."

Waldman found that when the researchers restored production of the gene's protein in cancer cells that harbored PTPRD deletions or mutations, these tumors stopped growing and initiated a program of cell suicide.

The researchers also discovered PTPRD mutations in both the blood and in tumors of a patient with multiple different kinds of cancers. "This suggests that the gene could be responsible for an inherited predisposition to cancer," Waldman says

PTPRD produces a receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase that bisects the outer membrane of a cell. The part that protrudes outside the cell body is thought to be involved in helping cells stick to each other to form a tissue as well as in cell-to-cell communication. The part that juts into the cell is an enzyme that removes phosphates from other proteins – in other words, it changes the activity of proteins either by activating or deactivating them, Waldman says.

"In the absence of PTPRD, there are as yet unknown proteins floating around inside the cell with more phosphate residues than they should have, and it is a well known fact that the presence of these residues activates cellular growth pathways," he says. But it is not yet known which specific proteins PTPRD regulates, Waldman says.

Deletions of PTPRD in human cancer cells were first discovered in 2005, and since then, deletions or mutations of the gene have been discovered in several cancer types, including those of the colon and lung.

In this study, Waldman and his research team, which includes investigators from the National Cancer Institute, the University of Iowa and Duke University, used a laboratory technique known as copy number analysis to look for PTPRD in melanoma cell lines and in samples of human glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest of brain cancers.

This technique uses a gene microarray that contains millions of probes that can stick to different regions of the human genome. The researchers purified DNA from tumors and then used the microarray chip to quantify genomic copy number. They found that PTPRD was deleted or mutated in 12 percent of melanoma tumors and in 14 percent of glioblastoma tumors examined. "That makes PTPRD one of the most commonly mutated genes discovered yet in melanoma," Waldman says.

"Before this study, no single tyrosine phosphatase was thought to play a generally important role as a tumor suppressor gene n multiple tumor types," Waldman says. "Now we have provided the first functional evidence that PTPRD is a tumor suppressor gene, and potentially an important one at that."

Karen Mallet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.georgetown.edu
http://lombardi.georgetown.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>