Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Vet medicine researcher examines link between cancer, Down syndrome

There’s new hope for breast cancer research, and it’s coming from a very unlikely place. Researchers at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences recently published articles in the journals Molecular and Cellular Biology and Carcinogenesis indicating that a protein long suspected to play a role in Down Syndrome may also contribute to treating this devastating disease.

It has long been known that Down Syndrome is caused when an individual has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, giving them a total of three instead of the normal chromosome pair. With improved medical care, people with Down Syndrome are now living longer, healthier lives. With this advance came the observation that individuals with Down Syndrome have a significant decrease in risk for several types of tumors. Most striking is the observation that women with Down Syndrome are 10-25 times less likely to develop breast cancer.

This effect is thought to be due to the presence of one or more “tumor suppressor” genes on chromosome 21. However, the identity of such genes has not been known, until now.

“Years of research into the genetics of Down Syndrome have helped us to discover a very important gene on chromosome 21,” said Dr. Weston Porter, associate professor in the Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Department. “This gene, called Single-minded 2 or SIM2 is thought to play an important role in Down Syndrome by regulating neuron growth in the developing brain. Based on its developmental role, we hypothesized that SIM2 may also be involved in breast cancer, which is essentially a disease of uncontrolled growth.”

... more about:
»Chromosome »Down Syndrome »SIM2 »Syndrome

For the last five years, Porter and his colleagues, Richard Metz, Brian Laffin and Elizabeth Wellberg, have been using human breast cells and mouse models as part of a research grant from the National Institutes of Health to validate this hypothesis, and what they have found they consider very promising. SIM2 is lost or suppressed in a majority of human breast tumors, and deletion of the SIM2 gene triggers rapid tumor growth in mice.

However, the process by which SIM2 suppresses breast cancer is complex and not fully understood. This same protein which may hold so much promise for breast cancer treatment is also thought to contribute to the negative effects of Down Syndrome.

“As we move forward,” said Porter, “it will be important for us to understand the circuit of SIM2 and how it is turned on and off. In light of the available data on breast cancer incidence in the Down Syndrome population and our experimental data, knowing how to turn SIM2 expression on and off and identification of down-stream targets should have great therapeutic value.”

While still in the early stages, this research represents a promising weapon in the fight against breast cancer as it sheds light on a previously unknown target for which to shoot.

“What we are seeing now is a paradigm shift in breast cancer research” said Porter. “For years we have gone after the wrong kinds of cells. It was all about getting rid of the tumor itself. This has led to a dandelion effect where, we didn’t get to the root and the cancers kept coming back and spreading. Now we’re looking at ways to get to the root of breast cancer, and not simply shrinking the tumor to come back another day.”

While it may be years before their research results in a definitive treatment or cure, Weston says it is impacting our approach towards understanding breast cancer today.

Keith Randall | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Chromosome Down Syndrome SIM2 Syndrome

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>