Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

In leukemia, discovery of Mer protein in cancer cells’ nuclei offers another place to target this known cause of cancer

14.03.2012
Since the mid-1990s, doctors have had the protein Mer in their sights – it coats the outside of cancer cells, transmitting signals inside the cells that aid their uncontrolled growth.
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study, recently published in the journal PLoS ONE, found another home for Mer – inside cancer cells’ nuclei – and perhaps another role for this protein that can point the way to novel, targeted treatments.

“We’ve known that leukemic B and T cells have a lot of Mer on their surface, while normal lymphocytes have none, and that this protein promotes cancer cell survival,” says Justine Migdall, MD/PhD candidate working in the lab of Douglas Graham, MD, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and associate professor of pediatrics and immunology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“But signaling from the cell surface may only be part of how Mer promotes leukemia. Our recent finding that Mer also resides in the nucleus suggests there may be additional ways that Mer is promoting cancer from within the cell,” he says.

The question remains, What is Mer doing in the nucleus?

Migdall and Graham think it’s likely that Mer in the nucleus may influence “gene expression” – helping to decide which parts of the cells’ DNA are printed or expressed into proteins. If Mer is, in fact, altering genes within cells, it may be one way in which healthy cells become cancerous – with the wrong genes expressed, a good cell may go bad. Or perhaps Mer in the nucleus may help existing cancer cells survive and thrive despite chemotherapy treatment, as is commonly the case in patients who relapse.
“This finding is especially exciting within the realm of drug development, which is currently focused on inhibiting Mer signaling,” Migdall says. “Mer in the nucleus may offer another explanation of how Mer promotes cancer and thus may prove to be another druggable target.”

A second use of this discovery may be in prognosis – Migdall and Graham hope to discover if the presence of MER in the nuclei of leukemia cells predicts a more aggressive form of the disease. The answer may help doctors deliver more accurate information as well as accurate treatments.

“If we truly have two distinct mechanisms through which Mer acts – cancer cell signaling and regulation of gene expression within the nucleus – then we would have additional ways to target this cancer-causing agent,” Graham says.

This work was supported by NIH Grant 1R01CA137078 and ACS Grant RSG-08-291-01-LIB to Douglas Graham.

Garth Sundem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdenver.edu

Further reports about: Cancer Colorado river cancer cells healthy cell

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The body's street sweepers
18.12.2017 | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

nachricht Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change
18.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

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...

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

The body's street sweepers

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Fast flowing heat in layered material heterostructures

18.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>