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 A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>