Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research bolsters highly targeted gastro-intestinal cancer treatment

06.07.2005


Gastro-Intestinal Stroma Tumor (GIST) is a rare form of cancer of the stomach or small intestine. Up to now, only one effective treatment has existed for GIST: the use of Glivec. However, over time, this remedy becomes ineffective for a large percentage of the patients. Along with colleagues in Leuven, the research group of Peter Marynen of the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), connected to the Catholic University of Leuven, has uncovered the process underlying the frequent ineffectiveness of Glivec. In addition, the researchers have shown that PKC412 - an experimental drug currently in the second phase of clinical research - can be effective in helping these patients once again. This possible alternative to Glivec, and the genetic understanding of the development of resistance to Glivec, should make it possible to prescribe a new highly targeted therapy for patients in the future.



GIST: a specific form of gastro-intestinal cancer

GIST is a rare form of gastro-intestinal cancer that strikes some 175 Belgians each year. Often, by the time it is discovered, there are already metastases in other organs, which make it impossible to remove the GIST tumors surgically. Furthermore, the other traditional cancer treatments - chemotherapy and radiation treatment - produce little result. Since 2002, there has been an effective treatment for GIST: Glivec. And up to now, this has been the only remedy for treating GIST effectively.


Why look for an alternative for Glivec?

To arrive at a definite diagnosis for GIST, a biopsy is needed to verify the presence of specific receptor proteins on the GIST cells. Cells contain certain receptors to which growth factors can bind, but GIST cells contain a defect in one of these receptors, the KIT receptor. The defective KIT receptor gives a continuous signal to the cancer cells to multiply, enabling the cancer cells to grow irrespective of the presence of the growth factors. However, the drug Glivec works by also binding to this KIT receptor and thus disabling its activity. As a consequence, the GIST cells stop growing and even die off. In contrast to chemotherapy or radiation treatment, Glivec is a highly targeted drug without many side effects. The problem is that often the tumor cells adapt themselves so that Glivec no longer has an effect on them. To find a solution for this problem is a great challenge in the treatment of GIST.

KIT adapts and resists

Peter Marynen, in collaboration with other Leuven researchers, set out to discover the mechanisms behind the origin of this tumor cell resistance to Glivec. By investigating tumor tissue from 26 GIST patients, their research revealed that, in most cases, KIT’s reactivation was a crucial factor in this process. Usually, the reactivation was the consequence of an additional alteration in KIT itself, but sometimes it was brought about by a change in another protein. This last finding is a new piece of information in cancer research.

PKC412: a new solution appears

The researchers in Leuven investigated whether an experimental drug, PKC412, could counteract the reactivation of KIT. They have demonstrated that PKC412 is indeed able to combat resistant tumors. So, once it’s on the market, this new medicine can be a good alternative for Glivec, or it can be used in combination with Glivec. At the moment, PKC412 is in Phase II clinical research on leukemia and other cancer patients. If all goes well, it is expected to come onto the market within a few years.

Research funding

This research was made possible through funding from VIB, the Catholic University of Leuven, the Belgian Federation Against Cancer, and the Flanders Research Fund for Scientific Research.

Sooike Stoops | alfa
Further information:
http://www.vib.be

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Millions through license revenues

27.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today

27.04.2017 | Information Technology

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>