Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover potential skin cancer prevention target

04.11.2004


Scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have identified a protein that serves as a master regulator of skin cancer - a finding that could lead to new ways to prevent skin cancer before it starts.



The protein, called STAT3, had been known to be involved in cancer, but John DiGiovanni Ph.D., and his colleagues showed that activated STAT3 is necessary for skin cancer to begin and that without it, skin cancer can’t develop. The study, which appears in the September 1, 2004, issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is the first to show STAT3’s critical role in the development of skin cancer. "This study shows STAT3 plays a role in the very earliest steps of the carcinogenic process," says DiGiovanni, the study’s principal investigator and director of M. D. Anderson’s Department of Carcinogenesis which is located in Smithville, about 250 miles from the Houston cancer center. "This is a bona fide target for prevention." It is possible that one day a STAT3 inhibitor could be applied as a topical cream to treat sunburns or precancerous lesions to prevent progression to cancer, he says.

Signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) belong to a class of proteins called transcription factors that can lead to cancer by allowing a healthy cell to respond inappropriately to external signals to divide. Transcription factors are potent proteins because they set off a cascade of events by activating numerous genes, which in turn lead to the production of growth-promoting proteins. Activated STATs have been observed in a wide variety of human cancers, including lymphomas and solid tumors. Because of its newly discovered role in the initiation and promotion stages of skin cancer, intensive effort should now be focused on researching the proteins activated by STAT3, DiGiovanni said.


The researchers became interested in the role of STAT3 when they learned it had been linked to wound healing, a process that shares many of the same features with the process of tumor promotion. Initial studies in DiGiovanni’s lab showed that chemicals known to promote skin cancer also activated STAT3.

To further study the role of STAT3 in skin, the scientists used mice in which STAT3 was missing in skin cells. These mice did not get skin cancer after treatment with a known cancer-causing agent, while mice with normal levels of STAT3 developed numerous skin tumors. Without STAT3, most of the damaged skin cells simply died, while those that survived could undergo proliferation which is necessary for the earliest stages of cancer development.

To further explore the importance of STAT3 in skin cancer, the scientists injected a small piece of DNA called an oligonucleotide, into skin tumors of normal mice. The oligonucleotide was designed to bind STAT3 and prevent it from activating genes. In this experiment, half of the skin tumors injected shrank by more than 60 percent. "We discovered that STAT3 is a unique molecule that regulates critical sets of genes involved in the initiation and promotion of cancer," says DiGiovanni. "Furthermore, we have evidence that if you block the action of STAT3, you get tumors that regress. This makes STAT3 an attractive target for both treatment and prevention of skin cancer."

DiGiovanni’s collaborators included graduate student Keith Chan, Shigetoshi Sano, M.D., and Kaoru Kiguchi , M.D., of M. D. Anderson; Joanne Anders, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; and Nobuyasu Komazawa, M.D. and Junji Takeda, M.D.; Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.

Julie A. Penne | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mdanderson.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>