Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can a spoonful of sugar treat cancer?

19.09.2006
A leading Yorkshire scientist is trying to develop new drugs by synthesising different forms of the special sugars found in cancer cells. Now, with support from the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR), Dr Robert Falconer will be using his discovery to search for new molecules to stop disease spread.

Dr Falconer, a Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry based in the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Bradford explains: “On the surface of cancer cells there is a long molecule, called polysialic acid, which is made up of about 200 identical simple sugars linked together.

“Polysialic acid has been found on the surface of a number of different human cancers. When these cancer cells start to spread, they appear to get more polysialic acid on their surface. We believe that this helps these cells ‘unstick’ from their neighbouring cells, so they can start invading the surrounding tissues and moving away from the original tumour.

“Our idea is quite simple. If we can stop these cancer cells making so much polysialic acid, they won’t find it so easy to spread. Cancers that don’t spread, or only spread slowly, are less dangerous and are easier to cure.”

... more about:
»Cancer »Falconer »acid »cancer cells »polysialic

Dr Mark Matfield, AICR’s scientific adviser says the surface of cells carries a complex mixture of proteins and sugars. “In the past, most scientific attention has been directed at the differences in the proteins but Dr Falconer is particularly interested in the differences in the sugars found on cancer cells.

“The long molecules of polysialic acid are built up by adding one simple sugar, called sialic acid, at a time to the growing molecule. Dr Falconer will use altered versions of the sialic acid molecule to block the enzymes that build these long polysialic acid molecules.”

Dr Falconer has already made several variations of the normal sialic acid molecule. He will chemically synthesise many other different varieties of these unnatural sugars and, with colleagues at the Institute, will test their ability to block the enzymes that build polysialic acid.

Initially, these tests will be carried out using purified versions of these enzymes. Those molecules that are found to block polysialic acid synthesis will then be tested directly on cancer cells growing in the laboratory, to make sure that they have the same effect on the cells. The final stage of the project will be to find out if these molecules, which stop cancer cells making polysialic acid, also stop the cells moving and spreading.

Derek Napier, AICR Chief Executive, says the charity has awarded a three-year research grant of £142,000 to Dr Falconer, which should enable him to identify a number of molecules that block cancer cell spreading. “This is an exciting project and is given in line with AICR’s policy of funding the most novel approaches to research worldwide.

“However, there will need to be further analyses and testing – taking several more years - before it is known whether these molecules will make effective drugs to help treat cancer.”

Emma Banks | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bradford.ac.uk

Further reports about: Cancer Falconer acid cancer cells polysialic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>