Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cancer support cells may evolve, fuel tumor growth, study shows

19.12.2005


Findings suggest need to expand targets of new treatments



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientists have demonstrated in a living organism that cancers may cause surrounding supportive cells to evolve and ultimately promote cancer growth.

The new research offers what is believed to be the first evidence that mutations within cancer cells can signal surrounding tissue cells to alter their molecular composition in ways that promote tumor growth and proliferation. Moreover, the findings also suggest that cell mutations that promote cancer progression may arise in cells other than the predominant cancer cell.


The new findings are published as the cover story in today’s (Dec. 16) issue of the journal Cell. While not offering immediate application to the treatment of human cancers, the research indicates that new anti-tumor therapies may be more effective if their targets are broadened to include molecules within supporting cells of the cancer. These additional target cells are in the tumor’s surrounding "microenvironment," or stroma, including the supporting connective tissue that forms the framework of organs such as the breast, colon and prostate. They also are found in the tumor’s blood vessels, or its vasculature.

"Basically, virtually all the studies on genetic changes or changes in gene expression have focused on the cancer cell, on events within the cancer cell itself," said Dr. Terry Van Dyke, professor of genetics and biochemistry and biophysics in the School of Medicine, member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the study’s senior author. Thus, research focused solely on the predominant cancer cell, such as epithelial cells that form the bulk of many tumors including breast cancer, would be on the accumulated mutations that have allowed the cell to survive and grow unchecked. "But over the last several years, it has become increasingly clear that cancer involves complex interactions among different types of cell compartments, and, as in any organ, these compartments comprise blood vessels, supporting tissue and immune cells," said Van Dyke.

"The interaction between the predominant cancer cell type and other types of surrounding cells is important in the development of disease."

The signals that go back and forth between cells contain selective pressures, not only on the cancer cell itself but also on the surrounding cell, she said.

"Think of it as a microcosm of evolution, such that every change that goes on in the cancer cell can impact cells around it. It’s a back-and-forth cross-talk via which the whole entity evolves, not just a subset of cells within the cancer. It’s an environment where changes in the surrounding cells are selected that will help tumor growth."

Van Dyke’s UNC collaborators in the new research were graduate student Reginald Hill and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Yurong Song. Dr. Robert D. Cardiff, professor of pathology at the University of California at Davis, also collaborated in the study.

Their series of experiments involved a genetically engineered mouse model of prostate cancer developed in Van Dyke’s UNC laboratory. The researchers manipulated epithelial cells – the target cell type for prostate cancer – causing them to divide at an accelerated rate.

First, they found that this accelerated division triggered a signal to fibroblasts, connective cells in the surrounding supporting tissue, to grow and proliferate. The signal then induced a tumor suppressor, p53, within the fibroblasts, which stopped this action.

Thus, a change made only in epithelial cells had an impact on surrounding tissue cells.

Next, the researchers showed that fibroblasts eventually lost p53 function. This resulted in cells continuing to divide and proliferate, thereby fueling the cancer’s growth. "This occurred in 100 percent of the animals studied. It’s a strong selective pressure," Van Dyke said. "Now the whole organ is evolving as a cancer, not just a single population of cells." If the research suggests a need to look at cancer development as a more dynamic process, it also indicates a need for expanding the approach to treatment, said Van Dyke.

"If the changes you’re targeting in the predominant cancer cell are going to affect, say, the supportive tissue, it may be best to develop therapies that hit both types of cell."

In their report, the study authors said further work aimed at more fully understanding the signals, their pathways and the cells’ responses was needed.

They said their findings underscore the dynamic complexity of cell-to-cell interactions and the changing selective microenvironment that drives cancer development.

L.H. Lang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.med.unc.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>