Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

K-State professor finds link between low oxygen levels in body and cancer-aiding protein

10.03.2010
Research could help treatments for retinoblastoma and breast cancer

What began as research into how diabetics could possibly preserve their eyesight has led to findings that could prolong the vision of children afflicted with retinoblastoma.

Dolores Takemoto, a Kansas State University professor of biochemistry who was researching protein kinase C gamma in the lens of the human eye, found her work taking a fascinating turn when she discovered a correlation between the protein Coonexin46 and hypoxia -- a deficiency of oxygen which kills normal tissue cells.

According to the data, Coonexin46, or Cx46, appears in the body during these levels of low oxygen. Besides the eye, which is one of the body's only naturally occurring hypoxic tissue, Cx46 also is present in cancer cells since the cells seal themselves off from the oxygen carried by the blood vessels, thus creating a hypoxic environment.

Takemoto believes the findings will lead to serious advancements in treating retinoblastoma, a cancer that forms in the tissue of the retina -- the light-sensitive layers of nerve tissue on the back of the eye. It occurs in 300 U.S. children under the age of 5 each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

"When a child comes in with retinoblastoma in one eye it's usually too late in the process to save that eye, and, it will spread to the other eye," Takemoto said.

Once an eye becomes cancerous, it has to be removed to prevent the tumor from spreading. Too often, though, Takemoto said, by the time the tumor is noticed in one eye, it has already spread to the second, resulting in a child being permanently blind.

Through her research, Takemoto believes a siRNA medication can be invented which can be injected monthly into the noncancerous eye, preventing tumor growth. siRNA, or small interfering ribonucleic acid, is a class of double-stranded RNA molecules that can be used to interfere with the expression of a specific gene. In this case, the siRNA would suppress Cx46, which allows a tumor to exist in a hypoxic environment. In this manner, the tumor can be prevented from growing at the early hypoxic stage.

Using a mouse model for retinoblastoma, the Takemoto lab has found that use of siRNA to lower the levels of Cx46 will prevent tumor formation.

An international application has been filed with the Patent Cooperation Treaty regarding the findings.

During her trials with Cx46, Takemoto collaborated with Thu Annelise Nguyen, associate professor of toxicology at K-State. The two examined biopsies of MCF-7 breast cancer, where they also found Cx46 present. Takemoto said the same was true for samples of colon cancer.

"Any time there's a drop in oxygen within the body, Cx46 appears," Takemoto said.

While Takemoto's research into Cx46 is focused on the eye, Nguyen is studying Cx46 in breast cancer. She is currently exploring drug discovery and drug testing related to breast cancer.

Besides treating tumors, Takemoto said she believes these findings could help with treatment in acute or chronic heart disease, heart attacks, retinal ischemia, ischemia of the brain, blood pressure problems and glaucoma, as well as for health applications in animals.

Findings have been published in an online edition of the International Journal of Cancer, "A novel role of gap junction connexin46 protein to protect breast tumors from hypoxia." Publication in a printed edition will follow.

Takemoto has recently been named a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. She will present her data in May at an association conference, where hers will be one of the highlighted talks.

Takemoto's research was made possible by a grant of more than $366,000 from the National Eye Institute in fall 2009.

Dolores Takemoto | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>