Discovery may pave way for immunotherapies
Using a common chemotherapy agent, researchers at UCLAs Jonsson Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine found a way to move an important biomarker expressed in prostate cancer, shaking it loose from one location in a cell – where it could not be accessed by blood – to another, easier to target area. The discovery, outlined in the cover article of May 11 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, could have important implications for using immunotherapy to treat prostate cancer, said Ayyappan K. Rajasekaran, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the article.
The method discovered by the research team places the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) in a location on the cell that would allow blood-borne immunotherapies to access the biomarker, transforming it from a hidden target into an exposed one. "In prostate cancer cells, PSMA is expressed in the apical region of the cell membrane, which blood cant reach, so injection of immunotherapy into the bloodstream is not effective," said Rajasekaran, also an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine. "By using information from very basic studies about how the PSMA protein is targeted in these cells, we identified a way to redirect this protein within the cell. We found that if we disturbed hollow tubular structures called microtubules, part of the cells framework, we were able to relocate PSMA from its hidden location on the apical membrane to an accessible area in the basolateral surface."
Kim Irwin | EurekAlert!
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