Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel treatment target for deadly brain tumors identified

31.10.2005


Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have identified a second promising treatment target for glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most deadly types of brain tumors. The research results are reported in the October issue of Molecular Cancer Research.

"We’ve found that a particular protein may play a major role in the progression of these tumors, suggesting an attractive new treatment approach," said Waldemar Debinski, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Brain Tumor Center of Excellence at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

This was the first study to investigate the presence and significance of a protein called EphA2 in brain cancer cells. This protein, which is found in cell membranes, allows normal cells to communicate with their environment and each other. In its normal active state, the protein seems to inhibit abnormal cell growth and division.



Debinski and colleagues demonstrated that glioblastoma cells have significantly increased levels of the protein EphA2 compared to normal cells – but it is in an inactive form. They believe that this inactive form of EphA2 aids in the survival and spread of cancer cells.

To test their hypothesis, they treated glioblastoma cells with ephrinA1, a naturally occurring molecule that binds to EphA2 and activates it. They had already demonstrated that ephrinA1 is present at much lower levels in cells and tumors with increased levels of inactive EphA2.

"We observed that cells treated with ephrinA1 slowed down their growth and were less likely to exhibit invasive properties," said Debinski.

The researchers believe that developing medication to change levels of EphA2 and ephrinA1 offers new promise for successfully treating glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most common form of brain tumor and the least curable of all human cancers. The majority of the 17,500 brain tumors diagnosed each year in the United States are glioblastomas. Patients have a median survival time of nine to 12 months and a five-year survival rate of 1 to 5 percent.

"EphA2 represents a novel target for the development of molecular therapeutics for the imaging and treatment of patients with glioblastoma," said Debinski. "New therapies are clearly needed because, despite the standard treatment of surgically removing the tumor and treating the patient with chemotherapy and radiation, survival has increased only slightly over the past 30 years."

Debinski has already developed one treatment for glioblastoma, based on his discovery that the tumor’s cells have a particular type of receptor for interleukin 13 (IL 13), a naturally occurring protein that regulates the immune system in the body. Normal cells do not have these same receptors. Debinski developed a drug that combines a form of IL-13 with a toxin that kills cancer cells. By targeting the therapy to these receptors, the drug finds and kills the cancer cells. The first generation of the drug is being tested in advanced clinical trials worldwide.

Both of Debinki’s projects focus on the identification of "molecular markers," or molecules that are found in high levels on tumor cells but are nearly absent on normal cells. This makes them attractive for such treatment approaches as targeted drug delivery.

EphA2 may also show promise for treating other types of cancer. It has been shown to be present at high levels in several other tumors, such as pancreas, colon and breast. And recently other researchers have shown that EphA2 is a potential target for a glioblastoma vaccine that could potentially prevent recurrences of the tumors.

Debinski’s results were preliminarily reported at the World Federation of NeuroOncology meeting and the European Association for Neuro-Oncology meeting, both in Edinburgh, Scotland, in May. Jill Wykosky, B.S., and Denise Gibo, B.S., from Debinski’s laboratory, conducted this work, and Constance Stanton, M.D., from the Department of Pathology, collaborated.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

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 >>>