Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery of new biological principle can give better cancer treatment

13.09.2004


Pioneering research on leukaemia cells can have identified their vulnerable spot. This new knowledge can now be used to produce more effective medicines.



A group of scientists at the University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital made a surprising discovery when they stimulated leukaemia cells with the growth hormone GM-CSF. The reaction of the cells surprised everyone and would seem to indicate that scientists in Bergen have uncovered a new biological principle and consequently, a new therapeutic goal.

"We shouted, and expected to get one reply, but what we got was a bellow from an entire football team," says Project Leader Bjørn Tore Gjertsen, who was recently presented in the renowned American periodical Cell.


Hugely important discovery for cancer patients

Cell membranes contain receptors that are stimulated by a number of environmental factors, among them hormones. This starts a chain reaction between proteins that can in cancer cells result in increased production of substances that hamper necrocytosis (cell death) and encourage cancer. A mutation in receptor Flt3 and how this activates the chain reaction has previously been paid a lot of attention. In the tests carried out by Gjertsen and his fellow scientists, it was the GM-CSF receptor that captured their attention. Patients with Flt3 mutation showed an enormous reaction, in proteins that should in principle be normal. This indicates that the attack should be mounted here, if one is to find effective but gentle methods of cancer treatment.

"We have used tests from thirty patients with an acute type of spinal leukaemia. Compared to young people with lymphatic leukaemia, these patients have little chance of recovery. Life expectancy without treatment is about 2-3 months and only 20 percent are cured by chemotherapy. The study results can in principle also be applied to other types of cancer cells, so these results can prove to be of great importance for future cancer sufferers," says Gjertsen.

In this particular research project, Gjertsen has collaborated with colleagues from Stanford University and also several from the research milieu in Bergen, including Randi Hovland and Øystein Bruserud. With support from the cancer association, Bruserud has over the last twelve years, collected an invaluable bank of leukaemia tests. The Americans were contacted because they have developed a quick method for looking at the activation of proteins with the help of an antibody produced by mice.

"We have invaluable profiles that give us a comprehensive picture of what happens inside the cells. In spite of the huge amount of scientific research on cancer during the last ten years, there have been few important clinical results. This is mainly due to the fact that we have turned one stone at a time and studied the building blocks of the cancer cells individually. In system biology we try to look for patterns so that we can get a complete and realistic overall picture," says Gjertsen, "and adds that the use of cells collected from patients, and not static cell lines, can be the only way to get secure results."

The collaboration now continues with unabated strength, searching for energized key cancer proteins that lie under the signal line studied in the Cell article.

Bjørn Tore Gjertsen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.helse-bergen.no
http://www.forskningsradet.no

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>