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 Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State 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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>