Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research breakthrough offers new hope for liver cancer treatment

20.07.2005


Scientists at The University of Nottingham have announced an important biological breakthrough that could offer new hope in the fight against liver cancer.

Professor John Mayer and Dr Simon Dawson, in collaboration with colleagues at Japan’s Kyoto University, have discovered the function of a new liver oncoprotein — or cancer causing protein — which could be the first step to finding effective new treatments for the deadly illness.

The research, published today in the journal Cancer Cell, centres on the most common malignant liver cancers, hepatocellular carcinomas, which arise from the liver cells themselves. Primary liver cancer is relatively rare in the UK and other countries in the Western world, but is very common in Africa and Asia — it is strongly associated with hepatitis virus infection and with a natural toxin called aflatoxin which is present in mouldy peanuts, soybeans, groundnut, corn and rice. There is currently no cure for primary liver cancer and survival rates are low.



The latest work by the Nottingham team has shown that a natural process in the liver, which would normally lead to cells dying before they can become cancerous, is being disrupted by the oncoprotein gankyrin.

The research stems from an international collaboration that began five years ago — the Nottingham team joined forces with Professor Jun Fujita and colleagues at Kyoto University after learning that both had simultaneously discovered the same new gene, which they intuitively believed played a significant role in liver cancer. Together they set about identifying the function of the new gene.

The team has found that in most cases of liver-derived cancers the gene is overexpressed. It is this gene that produces gankyrin, which effectively stimulates the destruction of another vital protein in the liver called p53, which is essential in protecting the liver from cancer.

The process is part of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) — the body’s natural method of breaking down proteins discovered by Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hershko of the Israel Institute of Technology and Irwin Rose of the University of California, for which they were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

The protein p53, sometimes called the ‘guardian of the genome’, is charged with the task of regulating cell division in the liver — it decides which cells should continue dividing and replicating their DNA and which should die. If a cell is infected with a virus, p53 sends out a signal to the cell, triggering a process called apoptosis — in which the cell effectively commits suicide.

In primary liver cancer, the team of scientists have discovered that this process is disrupted. Instead, the gankyrin binds to an enzyme called mdm2, which gives the p53 protein a molecular label which marks it for death. It is sent to the cell’s waste disposer, the proteasome, where it is broken down and destroyed. Damaged cells can then continue dividing and growing into a tumour.

The next step is to learn more about how and why this takes place, in the hope that eventually new therapies could be developed that will disrupt this biological process and halt the growth of tumours.

Professor John Mayer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics
19.04.2018 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Full of hot air and proud of it
18.04.2018 | University of Pittsburgh

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>