Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find drug that blocks spread of lung cancer in mice

01.09.2005


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a compound that shows promise as a way to block the spread, or metastasis, of lung cancer.



The researchers found that the compound blocks an enzyme that is known to keep cells immortal and that is implicated in almost all human cancers. From results in mice, they determined that the compound, called GRN163L, also works rapidly and in doses that would be reasonable for therapy. It may be particularly useful after surgery or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy to prevent residual cancer cells from spreading.

"We showed for the first time that this drug can work in animals," said Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, which appears in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, killing more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society.

Lung adenocarcinoma accounts for about 40 percent of lung cancers. Its rate is increasing worldwide, Dr. Shay said, and survival rates are poor because the disease metastasizes, usually by the time treatment begins in most cases.

The researchers designed, synthesized and tested GRN163L, which consists of 13 nucleotides, the units that make up DNA, plus a fatty section that improves the rate at which cells take it in.

GRN163L specifically matches a stretch of DNA at the end of the chromosome, a segment called the telomere. Normally, as cells divide and age, telomeres become shorter and shorter. When they reach a certain length, the cells stop dividing.

But the telomeres in cancerous cells stay the same length, thanks to an enzyme called telomerase. The gene that creates telomerase is active in about 85 percent to 90 percent of tumors and in only a few noncancerous cells.

"Telomerase is the immortalizing gene," said Dr. Shay.

Telomerase doesn’t cause cancer, but it allows the cancer cells to keep dividing. It’s almost a universal target for fighting cancer, Dr. Shay said, and its specificity is what makes it attractive for attack. Telomerase works by binding to DNA and, with a protein section, keeping the chromosome from getting shorter. GRN163L apparently prevents telomerase from binding.

The researchers injected human lung tumor cells into the tails of mice and found that GRN163L blocked the development of metastatic tumors over several months. The higher the dose, the fewer tumors there were.

"That suggests that this drug prevented the lung metastasis," Dr. Shay said, noting that the reactions took place at doses that would be considered reasonable for treatment. The compound might not be effective, however, in someone in whom metastasis has already begun, he said.

The research was partly responsible for getting the drug into clinical trials, where it will soon be tested on humans, Dr. Shay said. The trials, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are at an early stage, in which the drug is simply being tested for safety.

"We will be surprised if we see any toxicity," he said.

Future experiments on animals will involve combining GRN163L with other drugs and with radiation and therapy to see how it interacts with these other cancer treatments.

"What we’re really interested in is getting this novel therapeutic to work, to minimize the suffering and pain that people have with cancer therapy," Dr. Shay said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Drs. Gunnur Dikmen and Ginelle Gellert, former postdoctoral researchers in cell biology, Dr. Shalmica Jackson, postdoctoral researcher in cell biology, and Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology. Researchers from the Geron Corp. also participated.

Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>