Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find promising cancer-fighting power of synthetic cell-signaling molecule

20.04.2005


Novel anti-cancer compounds called Enigmols suppress the growth of human cell lines representing cancers of the prostate, breast, colon, ovary, pancreas, brain and blood, and reduce tumors in three animal studies, new research shows.


Enigmols cause the disappearance of nuclear beta-catenin, restoring cells to their normal behavior. Image Courtesy of Al Merrill



In addition, Enigmols did not show side effects at effective doses, according to the research conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University and Wayne State University. The studies were funded by the National Cancer Institute.

"Many agents suppress cancer cells in a Petri dish and then not in the whole animal, or have unacceptably high toxicity for normal tissues," said Georgia Tech Professor of Biology Al Merrill. "Finding that Enigmols are effective in three animal models leads us to hope these may be a new approach to treat cancer." However, human trials must still be done to determine safety and efficacy in people, the researchers cautioned.


The findings will be presented by Georgia Tech postdoctoral researcher Qiong Peng on April 19 in a "late-breaking" poster at the American Association for Cancer Research 96th Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. After considering comments from other scientists at the meeting, the researchers plan to submit the results to a scientific journal in coming weeks.

Enigmols are synthetic analogs of sphingolipids, a group of cell-signaling molecules that help cells decide whether to grow or die via a controlled process called apoptosis. Cancer cells are usually defective in these regulatory pathways, so researchers hypothesized that structurally modified sphingolipid analogs might be even better at making cancer cells behave more normally.

Merrill and his collaborators have been studying sphingolipids for more than a decade, having first shown that sphingolipids in food, such as low-fat dairy products and soybeans, suppress tumors in mouse models for colon cancer.

Encouraged by these findings, Emory University Professor of Chemistry Dennis Liotta and his colleagues at Emory prepared almost 100 sphingolipid-based analogs that lead to the discovery that the Enigmols were the most potent. The lead compounds were named "Enigmols" because sphingolipids were named after the sphinx for their enigmatic properties. Emory University holds the patent on compounds of this type.

In addition to being more potent than naturally occurring sphingolipids, the researchers have also found that Enigmols can be administered orally and appear in often-difficult-to reach organs such as the prostate. "This is what suggested to us that Enigmols should be tested against other cancer types," Merrill explained.

Subsequently, the researchers found that Enigmols suppress the growth of human prostate tumors implanted in mice, which is a commonly used model to test new anti-cancer drugs. They were also effective in two other mouse models for colon cancer.

"We do not know why Enigmols affect such a wide range of tumor cell types," Merrill said. "But it may be due to the involvement of sphingolipids in multiple cell-signaling pathways. This means a compound may affect several different targets, rather than just one."

In essence, Enigmols may act like a multi-drug combination therapy, the investigators speculate.

Enigmols are also being tested in combination with other cancer chemotherapeutic drugs using funds from EmTech Bio -- a life sciences technology business incubator operated by Georgia Tech and Emory. This research is coordinated with Slainte Bioceuticals, a start-up biotechnology company in metro Atlanta that is helping to bring this potential drug to market.

"Even if Enigmols are effective in humans, the greatest success is likely to come from the right combination of drugs that interact in a synergistic way," Merrill noted. So information from the EmTech Bio study may be particularly useful if Enigmols enter human clinical trials because the patients will have undergone, and will probably be undergoing, other treatments anyway, he added.

In addition to Merrill, Peng and Liotta, the research team is also comprised of: researcher Cameron Sullards of Georgia Tech and Emory researchers Dirck Dillehay, David Pallas, Selwyn Hurwitz and Anatoliy Bushnev; graduate students Holly Symolon and Sarah Pruett of Emory and Jeremy Allegood of Georgia Tech; post-doctoral fellow Steve Moody; and Georgia Tech research technicians Carrie Pack, Samuel Kelly and Elaine Wang. Additional collaborators at Wayne State University are Professors Eva Schmelz and Paul Roberts.

Jane M. Sanders | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.edi.gatech.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>