Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key leukemia defense mechanism discovered by VCU Massey Cancer Center

01.10.2010
Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center researcher Steven Grant, M.D., and a team of VCU Massey researchers have uncovered the mechanism by which leukemia cells trigger a protective response when exposed to a class of cancer-killing agents known as histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs). The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, could lead to more effective treatments in patients with leukemia and other cancers of the blood.

"Our findings provide new insights into the ways such cancer cells develop resistance to and survive treatment," says Grant, associate director for translational research and professor of medicine. "This knowledge will now allow us to focus our efforts on strategies designed to prevent these self-protective responses, potentially rendering the cancer cell incapable of defense and increasing the effectiveness of therapy."

The discovery centers on modification of a protein known as NEMO. Researchers have known for some time that HDACIs trigger a protective response in leukemia cells by activating a survival signaling pathway known as NF-êB, which limits the ability of HDACIs to initiate a cancer cell suicide program known as apoptosis. However, it was previously thought this process occurred through activation of receptors residing on the cancer cell surface. What VCU Massey researchers discovered was that HDACIs initially induce DNA damage within the cell nucleus, leading to modification of the NEMO protein, which then triggers the cytoprotective NF-êB pathway. By disrupting modifications of the NEMO protein, NF-êB activation can be prevented, and as a consequence, the cancer-killing capacity of HDACIs increases dramatically.

HDACIs represent an approved form of treatment for certain forms of lymphoma, and VCU Massey Cancer Center has been working for over seven years to develop strategies designed to improve their effectiveness in leukemia and other blood cancers. Grant's team is now focusing on ways to capitalize on this discovery by designing strategies that interrupt NEMO modifications through the use of pharmacologic agents and other means.

"Our goal is to move these findings from the laboratory to the bedside as quickly as we possibly can. There are currently several drugs in early stages of development that hold promise in disrupting the NEMO-related NF-êB pathway, but further research defining their safety and effectiveness will be required before we can incorporate them into new therapies," says Grant.

Grant's research team included Roberto Rosato, Ph.D., of the Department of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University; Paul Dent, Ph.D., Universal Professor for Signal Transduction at VCU Massey Cancer Center and vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Paul Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at VCU Massey Cancer Center, department head of Human and Molecular Genetics and director of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine.

About VCU Massey Cancer Center

VCU Massey Cancer Center is one of only 66 National Cancer Institute-designated institutions in the country that leads and shapes America's cancer research efforts. Working with all kinds of cancers, the Center conducts basic, translational and clinical cancer research, provides state-of-the-art treatments and clinical trials, and promotes cancer prevention and education. Since 1974, Massey has served as an internationally recognized center of excellence. It offers a wide range of clinical trials throughout Virginia, oftentimes the most trials in the state, and serves patients in Richmond and in four satellite locations. Its 1,000 researchers, clinicians and staff members are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by developing and delivering effective means to prevent, control and ultimately to cure cancer. Visit Massey online at www.massey.vcu.edu or call 877-4-MASSEY for more information.

John Wallace | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vcu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State 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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>