Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Compound from rare plant shows promise in treating breast cancer

02.02.2005


They started with a bare room and an idea. Now, after five years of painstaking, sophisticated tests, scientists at the University of Virginia Health System have discovered that a compound, derived from a rare South American plant, stops the growth of human breast cancer cells in laboratory cultures.



U. Va. Health System scientists Deborah Lannigan and Jeffrey Smith hope that, after further testing, their discovery could translate into a successful drug for the treatment of breast cancer. The disease is the second leading cancer killer of women in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society, with an estimated 40,410 deaths.

The compound, called SL0101, comes from the plant Forsteronia refracta, a nondescript member of the dogbane family found in the Amazonian rain forest. The compound works like a key in a molecular lock. It inhibits the action of a cancer-linked protein called RSK, which the researchers discovered is important for controlling the growth of breast cancer cells. Interestingly, SL0101 does not alter the growth of normal breast cells. The discovery is detailed in the Feb. 1, 2005 issue of the journal Cancer Research and can be found online at: www.cancerres.aacrjournals.org.


"By preventing RSK from working, we completely stopped the growth of breast cancer cells but did not affect the growth of normal breast cells," said Lannigan, an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the U. Va. Cancer Center. She compares this discovery to the development of the drug Gleevec for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Like Gleevec, SL0101 is a signal transduction inhibitor that interferes with the pathways that signal the growth of tumors. "Gleevec is an exciting discovery and we’re hoping to have similar success with SL0101," Lannigan said.

For now, Lannigan and Smith have begun testing the compound in animal models. "The next step is to see if SL0101 will prevent the growth of human tumor cells in mice," said Smith, a Research Assistant Professor of Pathology at the U.Va. Cancer Center. "We will modify the structure of SL0101, if necessary, to eventually find a compound that can be carried through to human clinical trials. That’s the goal. But human trials will likely be years down the road." The discovery of this potential anti-cancer compound at a U.Va. lab, Lannigan said, also highlights the important role of academic research in drug development.

The researchers collaborated on this discovery with a U.Va. Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Sidney Hecht, who maintains a large number of exotic plants collected by the National Cancer Institute in the 1960’s for research purposes. It took years of work to identify and characterize SL0101 as a specific RSK inhibitor. "Finding out that RSK is a good drug target for breast cancer is very exciting," Smith said.

Cancer patients themselves can also take credit for this discovery. A group of volunteers from "Patients and Friends of the U.Va. Cancer Center" provided funds at a crucial stage of the research.

Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.virginia.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

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

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>