'Clumping' protein linked to return of ovarian cancer
Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that women treated for ovarian cancer are at increased risk of a rapid and potentially fatal recurrence if their tumor cells have high levels of a binding protein that triggers abnormal growth and slows down cell death, both hallmarks of malignancy.
"Now there's the possibility that testing for NAC-1 protein in cancer tissue removed during surgery might identify women most at risk for recurrence and guide doctors and patients to greater vigilance and extended therapy," said Ie-Ming Shih, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The research also suggests that drugs capable of blocking NAC-1 activity may be a useful strategy in preventing and treating recurrences as well.
A report on the research, the first to link NAC-1 to cancer, appears in the December 5 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Because recurrent cancers are often what really kill patients, and most ovarian cancer is diagnosed when it's already advanced, our findings offer women a better chance of catching or preventing recurrent disease early and increasing survival," says Shih.
An estimated at least 60 percent of advanced-stage ovarian cancer patients who appear to be disease-free after initial treatment develop recurrent disease, according to the researchers.
When the investigators compared levels of NAC-1 among primary and recurrent tumor samples taken from 338 ovarian cancer patients from two hospitals, they found that levels of NAC-1 were significantly higher in recurrent tumors compared with primary tumors taken from the same patient. Women whose primary cancers had high levels of NAC-1 were more likely to suffer a recurrence within one year.
Studying the functions of NAC-1, the researchers genetically modified cells so they made both NAC-1 and a component of the protein found at the ends of natural NAC-1 that is a binding site. In the modified cells, N130 capped off NAC-1 proteins disrupting their ability to bind with each other. This action can prevent tumor formation and kill cancer cells in experimental mice. Shih says that in the future, drugs that mimic N130 can be used to treat cancer.
Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.
Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...