Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered epidermal growth factor receptor active in human pancreatic cancers

21.04.2009
Therapeutic promise

Finally some promising news about pancreatic cancer, one of the most fatal cancers, due to the difficulties of early detection and the lack of effective therapies: Johns Hopkins University pathologist Akhilesh Pandey has identified an epidermal growth factor receptor aberrantly active in approximately a third of the 250 human pancreatic cancers studied.

In a presentation April 18, at Experimental Biology 2009 in New Orleans, Dr. Pandey explained why this finding and related work in his Hopkins laboratory is promising in terms of both a new treatment for a large subset of pancreatic cancers and a potential blood or urine screening tool that might eventually do for pancreatic cancer detection what biomarkers like prostate-specific antigen levels have done for prostate cancer. His presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Investigative Pathology.

Personalized treatment. Phosophorylated epidermal growth factor receptor (pEGFR), the receptor identified by Dr. Pandey, is closely related to HER-2, a growth factor receptor found and used as a drug target in a subset of breast cancers. After he found and profiled the pEGFR activated in the pancreatic cancers, Dr. Pandey realized the same receptor had been found by other researchers to be activated in a subset of lung cancers. And, most promising, an EGFR inhibitor named erlotinib already has been through the long and complex Food and Drug Administration approval process and is in use for treatment of these specific lung cancers.

But would the drug work in pancreatic cancers? Dr. Pandey's group moved from studies of human cell lines to studies in mice in which human pancreatic tumor cells with activated EGFT had been placed. The tumors began growing. But when treated with erlotinib, they began to shrink. Other tumors without activated pECFR showed no response.

The promise – and the challenge – of using pEGFR is that of personalized medicine, says Dr. Pandey. Obviously a growth factor receptor that is activated only in a subset of all pancreatic cancers cannot be a one-size-fits-all target for treatment. Earlier studies in other laboratories and clinical trials already had tried EGF inhibitors as a treatment for pancreatic cancer and concluded that they did not work. When Dr. Pandey's collaborators allowed them to re-examine their samples, they found that the only case in 12 cases that had responded to the EGF inhibitor was the only case with an activated EGF receptor. Dr. Pandey would like to see other researchers go back and re-analyze their data, separating patients with and without the activated receptor, and then determining the success rate. He believes it would tell a different, more hopeful story.

Screening for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Pandey's other goal in his research is to use mass spectrometry to find additional markers of pancreatic cancer in the tumors themselves but also in blood and urine, which would avoid the problems of invasive biopsies. As a first step, his team has gone through the scientific literature to create a compendium of several hundred proteins and genes reported to be overexpressed in pancreatic cancers, making them excellent candidates for further study. The compendium already is being used by a consortium of investigators who are developing antibodies against the 60 most promising targets.

Co-authors of the Experimental Biology study are Hopkins faculty Dr. Antonio Jimeno, Dr. Henrik Molina, Dr. Ralph Hruban, Dr. Anirban Maitra, and Dr. Manuel Hidalgo; and H. C. Harsha, a graduate student in Dr. Pandey's laboratory who is also a member of the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore, India. The research was supported by the Sol Goldman Trust for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Sylvia Wrobel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.faseb.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

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

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>