Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular link between diabetes and cancer described

15.11.2011
The fact that diabetes raises the risk of certain types of cancer is already well known, but the reasons have been unclear. Now researchers at Lund University in Sweden have mapped a molecular link that explains the connection between the two widespread diseases.

Developing type 2 diabetes is a lengthy process. An early sign that it has begun is high levels of insulin in the blood. As long as the insulin-producing beta cells are able to compensate for the increased demand, for example when the individual is overweight, the blood sugar levels remain normal. It is not until the capacity for insulin secretion falls below the level needed that type 2 diabetes becomes a fact. The latter stage generally goes quickly, as the stressed beta cells work themselves to death.

“We have worked with the most well-known risk gene for type 2 diabetes, a variant of the TCF gene, and have studied its function in the beta cells”, says Yuedan Zhou, a doctoral student at the Lund University Diabetes Centre and principal author of the published study.

The risk variant of TCF is common, 25 per cent of the population carry it and 31 per cent of diabetics, according to figures from the Malmö Preventive Project population survey.

An equally well-established risk gene in cancer research is p53. The gene has been called the “protector of the genome” because it prevents the uncontrolled cell division that takes place in cancer. The p53 gene has been linked to protection against colon and liver cancer, among others.

“The function of the TCF gene in the beta cells is to protect the cells against high, stressful blood sugar levels. If that function fails, the beta cells die, which leads to diabetes”, says Ola Hansson, researcher and principal author of the survey.

The two genes work in concert, TCF protects against cell death, while p53 prevents excessive cell division.

“It is here that the connection between diabetes and cancer arises. When the blood sugar levels are high, the TCF gene is activated and this impedes the activity of the p53 gene thereby protecting the beta cells from cell death”.

The research group began working with the TCF gene two years ago to understand its role in insulin production. The discovery of the link with p53 and cancer was mostly by chance.

“Or good intuition”, they say.

The mapping of the TCF gene is continuing, this time in collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge.

Cancer researchers are working to try and influence p53 so that its tumour-preventing function is restored.

“In a similar way, strengthening the protective function of TCF against beta cell death in connection with high blood sugar would work as a drug for type 2 diabetes, or as a treatment before the disease has even developed fully”, says Ola Hansson.

Note: The full name of the risk variant is TCF7L2.

Publication:
The study was published in the scientific journal Human Molecular Genetics.
Title: ‘Survival of pancreatic beta cells is partly controlled by a TCF7L2-p53-p53INP1-dependent pathway’
For more information, please contact Ola Hansson:
Ola.Hansson@med.lu.se
+46 40 39 12 28, +46 739 54 99 23

Megan Grindlay | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

Further reports about: Molecular Target TCF beta cells blood sugar cell death cell division type 2 diabetes

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cloud Formation: How Feldspar Acts as Ice Nucleus
09.12.2016 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>