Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research may provide ways to inhibit cancer’s ability to resist treatments

04.03.2005


Discovery gives clinicians new targets for making existing therapies more effective and developing drugs to inhibit the growth of cancers



A team of researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto have discovered how a key enzyme involved in repairing DNA is put together and how it works--a development that opens up new therapies for making cancer cells more vulnerable to attack. The team has crystallized--or characterized in three dimensions--polynucleotide kinase (PNK), a key enzyme involved in a cell’s ability to repair single-strand and double-strand breaks in DNA.

"This gives us a clearer picture of how the enzyme works and opens up the possibility that we can develop drugs that inhibit cancer’s ability to repair itself and resist treatments," says Biochemistry professor Mark Glover, the lead author in the paper published in today’s issue of Molecular Cell.


Normally, explains Department of Oncology and Alberta Cancer Board researcher Michael Weinfeld, when a single- or double-strand break occurs, "the damaged ends need to be cleaned up before they can be rejoined" as an early step in the repair process. PNK is one of the key enzymes required to "polish" the strand break ends. Without it, cells are more sensitive to agents such as ionizing radiation or certain drugs that kill cells by damaging their DNA.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a large molecule shaped like a double helix found primarily in the chromosomes of the cell nucleus and contains the genetic information of the cell. Once damaged, cells have developed biochemical responses to repair the damage; when they can’t be repaired, cells die if the damage is too toxic. Or, if the damage is not lethal, mutations can occur that lead to cancer.

The paper is entitled The Molecular Architecture of the Mammalian DNA Repair Enzyme, Polynucleotide Kinase. The work builds on Dr. Weinfeld’s work on understanding DNA damage, Dr. Glover’s work on the basic biochemical processes involved in understanding breast cancer and Dr. Bernstein’s postdoctoral work.

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. Dr. Glover is also a Canada Research Chair.

The authors on the paper include: Drs. Glover and Weinfeld, Nina Bernstein, R. Scott Williams, Melissa Rakovszky, Diana Cui, Ruth Green, Feridoun Karimi-Busheri, Rajam Mani, Sarah Galicia, C. Anne Koch, Carol Cass and Daniel Durocher (Dr. Durocher has an appointment with the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto.)

Michael Robb | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>