Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potent metastasis inhibitor identified

24.06.2009
Could curb a cancer's deadliness

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston have isolated a potent inhibitor of tumor metastasis made by tumor cells, one that could potentially be harnessed as a cancer treatment. Their findings were published in the online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of June 22.

Metastasis—the migration of cancer cells to other parts of the body—is one of the leading causes of death from cancer, and there is no approved therapy for inhibiting or treating metastases. Randoph S. Watnick, PhD, an assistant professor in the Vascular Biology Program at Children's, has been finding that metastatic tumors prepare landing places in distant organs for their metastases, by secreting certain proteins that encourage tumor growth and attract feeder blood vessels. Now, he and his colleagues show that non-metastatic tumors secrete a protein called prosaposin -- which inhibits metastasis by causing production of factors that block the growth of blood vessels.

Cells from localized prostate and breast tumors, which didn't metastasize, secreted high levels of prosaposin, they found, while metastatic tumors secreted very little. When the researchers injected mice with tumor cells that were known to be highly metastatic, but to which they had added prosaposin, lung metastases were reduced by 80 percent and lymph node metastases were completely eliminated, and survival time was significantly increased. Conversely, when they suppressed prosaposin expression in tumor cells, they saw more metastases.

When prosaposin was directly injected into mice that had also received an injection of tumor cells, the tumor cells formed virtually no metastases in the lung, or, if they did, formed much smaller colonies. These mice lived at least 30 percent longer than mice not receiving prosaposin.

Watnick and colleagues also demonstrated that prosaposin stimulates activity of the well-known tumor suppressor p53 in the connective tissue (stroma) surrounding the tumor. This in turn stimulated production of thrombospondin-1, a natural inhibitor of blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), both in the tumor stroma and in cells at the distant location.

"Prosaposin, or derivatives that stimulate p53 activity in a similar manner in the tumor stroma, might be an effective way to inhibit the metastatic process in humans," says Watnick.

If this bears out, Watnick envisions treating cancer patients for their primary tumor, and concurrently giving them drugs to prevent metastases or slow their growth. "While we may not be able to keep patients from getting cancer, we can potentially keep them metastasis-free," he says.

Initially, Watnick's scientific interest was focused on metastatic cancer cells; he hoped to use proteomics techniques to isolate different proteins that steered metastases to different parts of the body (explaining, for example, why lung cancer often metastasizes to bone, or prostate cancer to liver). But the late Judah Folkman, MD, founder of the Vascular Biology program at Children's, encouraged him to focus on the metastasis inhibitor -- prosaposin. "You might have a drug right here," he told Watnick.

A patent has been filed by Children's Hospital Boston on the discovery. The hospital's Technology and Innovation Development Office is in active discussions to license prosaposin for commercial development.

The study was funded by the Gackstatter Foundation, a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and a Breast Cancer Innovator Award from the Department of Defense.

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom.

Bess Andrews | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>