Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify promising cancer drug target in prostate tumors

01.07.2008
Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute report they have blocked the development of prostate tumors in cancer-prone mice by knocking out a molecular unit they describe as a "powerhouse" that drives runaway cell growth.

In an article that is being published today as an advanced online publication by the journal Nature, the researchers say the growth-stimulating molecule called p110beta -- part of a cellular signaling network disrupted in several common cancers -- is a promising target for novel cancer therapies designed to shut it down. The report's lead authors are Shidong Jia, MD, PhD, Zhenning Liu, PhD, Sen Zhang PhD, and Pixu Liu, MD, PhD.

The p110beta molecule and a counterpart, p110alpha, are "isoforms" -- slightly different forms – of an enzyme called PI(3)K that is an intense focus of cancer research and drug development. PI(3)K is the linchpin of a cell-signal pathway that responds to growth factor signals from outside the cell.

When activated by growth factor receptors, PI(3)K turns on a cascade of genes and proteins that drives cells to divide and grow. The molecular accelerator is normally kept under control by a tumor-suppressor protein, PTEN, which acts like a brake to curb excess cell growth that could lead to cancer.

... more about:
»Inhibitor »PTEN »Zhao »p110alpha »p110beta »prostate

Mutations that inactivate PTEN -- in effect releasing the brake on growth signals -- are found in a significant proportion of prostate, breast and brain tumors. The senior authors of the new report, Jean Zhao, PhD, and Thomas Roberts, PhD, previously showed that blocking p110alpha protein inhibits cancerous growth induced by various cancer-causing proteins, such as Her2 and EGFR. With that knowledge in hand, the researchers, in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies, are developing p110alpha blockers.

P110beta, by contrast, was thought to be a relatively insignificant player in tumors. However, "the surprise in this paper is that p110beta has been found to be a bigger player than p110alpha in tumors that result from PTEN loss," noted Zhao. "Now the drug companies, which have been focusing on p110alpha, will have to think about making p110beta inhibitors as well."

Both forms of the p110 molecule have dual tasks: they are involved in responding to insulin signals -- a metabolic function -- as well as relaying growth signals from outside the cell. But the importance of 110beta had been vastly underestimated, the researchers said, for reasons they don't entirely understand.

"We knew that when cells are stimulated with growth factor signals, the activity of p110alpha, but not p110beta, rises rapidly and sharply in triggering excess cell growth," Zhao said. "We speculate that 110beta may be providing a low-level but steady growth stimulus and when PTEN is lost, it becomes an important source of cell proliferation signals."

The new findings stem from experiments in which the scientists disabled the p110beta protein in mice as a way of exploring its normal functions. In one of the experiments, the researchers "knocked out" p110beta in mice that also lacked the PTEN tumor suppressor protein and were therefore highly prone to prostate cancer. Mice that lacked PTEN but had functioning p110beta proteins all developed early prostate cancers by 12 weeks of age. In contrast, the "knockout" mice with no p110beta function remained free of prostate cancer even though the PTEN "brake" had been disabled.

The scientists concluded, as a result, that p110beta becomes a "powerhouse" to drive cancerous cell growth when PTEN function is missing.

In light of the new findings, there is likely to be great interest in finding drugs or other tools to block the p110beta protein in cancers where mutations in PTEN have unleashed the overactive growth signals, said Zhao, who is also an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

The task is made somewhat easier, said Roberts, by the fact that "we know what the inhibitor should look like because of our work on p110alpha inhibitors."

Roberts, who is also a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, said that drugs designed to block the p110alpha form are on their way to clinical testing, but he could not predict when p110beta inhibitors might become available for clinical testing.

Bill Schaller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dfci.harvard.edu
http://www.dana-farber.org

Further reports about: Inhibitor PTEN Zhao p110alpha p110beta prostate

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises
18.08.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa

nachricht Organ Crosstalk: Fatty Liver Can Cause Damage to Other Organs
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Astrophysicists explain the mysterious behavior of cosmic rays

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device

18.08.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>