Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key immune cell may play role in lung cancer susceptibility

24.09.2012
Why do many heavy smokers evade lung cancer while others who have never lit up die of the disease? The question has vexed scientists for decades.

Now, new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests a key immune cell may play a role in lung cancer susceptibility. Working in mice, they found evidence that the genetic diversity in natural killer cells, which typically seek out and destroy tumor cells, contributes to whether or not the animals develop lung cancer.

The research is published in September in Cancer Research.

"Overall, humans are genetically very similar but their immune systems are incredibly diverse,” explains senior author Alexander Krupnick, MD, a thoracic surgeon at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. “Our findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that innate differences in immunity may determine not only a person’s susceptibility to colds but also to lung cancer.”

Based on the findings in mice, Krupnick says he and his colleagues now are studying whether humans have a similar genetic diversity in their natural killer cells. As part of a new clinical study, they’re analyzing the blood of heavy smokers with and without lung cancer and never-smokers with and without lung cancer to look for differences.

“We want to know whether heavy smokers who don’t get lung cancer have natural killer cells that are somehow better at destroying newly developing lung cancer cells,” says Krupnick, associate professor of surgery. “And, by comparison, do patients who have never smoked but develop lung cancer have weak natural killer cells?”

For the mouse study, the scientists evaluated three groups of mice with varying susceptibilities to lung tumors. After the mice were exposed to a carcinogen that causes lung cancer, one group readily developed the disease while another showed little evidence of the tumors. A third group experienced moderate tumor growth.

When the researchers depleted natural killers cells from the mice using an antibody, those that had been resistant to lung cancer developed large, aggressive tumors.

Further, in mice susceptible to lung cancer, the scientists showed that manipulating the immune system with a bone marrow transplant could significantly block the development of lung cancer. Their studies indicate that natural killer cells, not other types of immune cells like T cells or inflammatory cells, are responsible for this phenomenon.

In other types of cancers, including those of the breast, colon and prostate, T cells are capable of destroying tumor cells. But in lung cancer, scientists suspect that T cells become inactivated, which may give natural killer cells a more prominent role.

The researchers also traced the genetic diversity of the natural killer cells in the mice to a region of chromosome 6, which includes numerous genes that influence the effectiveness of these cells.

Moving forward, Krupnick and his team want to learn whether natural killer cells influence lung cancer susceptibility in people. “We need to identify those patients who are resistant to lung cancer and ask, ‘What is unique about their natural killer cells – are they more potent or do they produce more of them than people with lung cancer?’ The answer will determine our next steps.”

The research is supported by the ATX/Lungevity Foundation, the Alvin Siteman Cancer Center Internal Research Grant by the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health (KO8CA131097) and Biostatistics Core (P30 Ca091842), the Rheumatic Diseases Core Center NIH (P30 AR48335), National Institutes of Health (1R01HL094601), The Barnes-Jewish Foundation, the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin, Thoracic Surgery Foundation for Research and Education and the generous support of the Charlotte and Sheldon Rudnick.

Kreisel D, Gelman AE, Higashikubo R, Lin X, Vikis HG, White JM, Toth KA, Deshpande C, Carreno BM, You M, Taffner SM, Yokoyama WM, Bui JD, Schreiber RD, Krupnick AS. Strain-specific variation in murine natural killer gene complex contributes to differences in immunosurveillance for urethane-induced lung cancer. Cancer Research. September 2012.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Caroline Arbanas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>