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 The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>