Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists discover more about how cancer cells form and grow

19.07.2005


University of Michigan researchers have figured out one more component in cancer cells’ aggressive growth---and hope that knowledge can help kill the cells.

In the July issue of Cancer Cell, the scientists explain how cancer tumor cells attach themselves to a protein on the surface of cells lining blood vessel walls. When this attachment happens, it tells the cancer cell to grow and develop blood vessels, which feed the cell. Cun-Yu Wang, senior author on the paper, said this discovery could help in the fight against cancer. "The blood supply is key for tumor growth and tumor development," said Wang, the Richard H. Kingery Endowed Collegiate Professor at the U-M School of Dentistry. "If you cut off the blood supply, you stop cancer development."

Wang collaborated with researchers Qinghua Zeng, Shenglin Li, Douglas B. Chepeha, Jong Li, Honglai Zhang, Peter J. Polverini, Jacques Nor and Jan Kitajewski on the paper. Scientists have heavily studied cancer cells’ secretion of proteins to form blood vessels. But Wang said when researchers tried to turn off that process, some tumors responded and some did not, which left him curious about how to develop a better treatment.



Rather than simply looking for a better way to interrupt the protein secretion, Wang and colleagues looked for other ways that tumor cells might develop their blood supply, a process called angiogenesis.

Wang’s team has studied hepatocyte growth factor, known as HGF, to better understand its function in the formation of cancerous tumors in the head and neck. Part of what HGF does is to get neighboring blood vessels to grow toward, and then into, the tumor. What they did not know was how HGF got the process of angiogenesis started, said Zeng, first author on the paper and a research fellow at U-M. So they looked at head and neck cancer cells to see if growth factors prompted the release of proteins related to angiogenesis. That led to an exploration of direct interaction between the tumor and endothelial cells. Blood vessels are lined by endothelial cells.

Examining data on the genes HGF activates, the team found that the one specific gene, called jagged1, is among the most expressed. Jagged1 binds to a specific protein on the surface of the endothelial cells. Wang speculated that if jagged1 is not secreted but found on the surface of tumor cells, then perhaps HGF gets jagged1 levels to increase, and that prompts a connection between the tumor and endothelial cells.

Sorting out this connection, Wang considered involvement of notch, another protein on the endothelial cells. Notch is known to help in the formation of blood cells, and jagged1 binds to notch. Wang said he found it interesting that although much research has looked at cancer cells’ secretion of proteins to form blood vessels, notch’s function in cancer angiogenesis has not gotten the same attention. Notch, Wang said, pulls this whole complex operation together.

After this contact stimulates angiogenesis, the tumor gets nutrition and grows faster, Wang explained. Conversely, Wang hopes that blocking the signaling pathway can cut off the tumor’s nutrition and stop its growth. If this development pans out as a treatment, Wang said he envisions a two-pronged approach that attacks the protein secretion and the cell contact to kill cancer cells.

The next question Wang wants to explore is how these connections lead to metastasis, the spread of cancer throughout the body. He speculates that inflammation could trigger that pathway, and wants to look at the potential for controlling inflammation to stop tumor development. "Head and neck cancer is under studied," Wang said. "The five-year survival rate hasn’t improved in decades. We want to change that."

Colleen Newvine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu
http://www.cancercell.org/

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

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>