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 New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>