Scientists of the Cluster of Excellence CECAD, University of Cologne, have developed a new strategy for cancer treatment.
Tumor growth is dependent on attracting blood vessels, that supply nutrients and oxygen and dispose of metabolic waste. An insufficient blood supply results in significantly reduced tumor growth.
The poisoning of the mitochondria, the cell´s power-plants, inhibits blood vessel growth, but has no effects on existing vessels. For this purpose the scientists used the weak mitochondrial poison Embelin. Selective inhibition of mitochondrial function could represent a fundamentally new therapeutic approach that may help advance the development of cancer treatments.
Cologne, 2014, March 20. A team of researchers from five CECAD departments led by PD Dr. Hamid Kashkar (University Hospital of Cologne, Institute of Clinical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene) and Dr. Oliver Coutelle (University Hospital of Cologne, Department of Internal Medicine I) have found a new principle for the treatment of proliferating solid tumors.
Tumors are highly dependent on the growth of blood vessels supplying nutrients and oxygen and excreting CO2 and metabolic waste products. Accordingly, the inhibition of tumor blood vessels by blocking specific vascular growth factors is a strategy that is already being used successfully to treat tumors today.
In close collaboration with Dr. Hue-Tran Hornig-Do and Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wiesner (University Hospital of Cologne, Institut of Vegetative Physiology), the CECCAD team reports in a recent article in EMBO Mol Med, that Embelin, a substance that is used in African traditional medicine, inhibits vessel growth by a novel mechanism.
They showed that Embelin acts as a weak poison for mitochondria, the power plants of cells. They demonstrated that growing blood vessels – but not resting normal blood vessels – are highly dependent on mitochondrial function and have little capacity to compensate for mitochondrial dysfunction induced by Embelin. Together their findings show that Embelin significantly slowed the growth of tumors by inhibiting their blood supply, but had little effect on existing normal blood vessels and other tissues at the concentrations required.
The study was supported by further research in collaboration with Prof. Sabine Eming (University of Cologne, Dermatology). Wound healing experiments demonstrated delayed closure of wounds in the presence of Embelin due to the lack of blood vessel in-growth, providing additional evidence for the effectiveness of Embelin in inhibiting new blood vessel formation.
Experiments in cooperation with Prof. Aleksandra Trifunovic ( CECAD) provide additional support for the dependence of new blood vessels on adequate mitochondrial function. In particular, mitochondrial dysfunction induced by mutation in mitochondrial DNA severely impaired the capacity for vascularisation of implanted artificial plugs, designed to attract new blood vessels.
In summary, the scientists were able to prove that impairment of mitochondrial function provides a fundamentally new approach to inhibit blood vessel growth in solid tumors with little side effects on normal body functions. Prof. Dr. Rudolf Wiesner: „We all feel excited about this new principle that will provide new approaches in the fight against cancer.“
Dr. Oliver Coutelle
PD Dr. Hamid Kashkar
Leiterin CECAD PR & Marketing
Tel. + 49 (0) 221-478-84043
Astrid Bergmeister | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences