The study compared the functionality of the HER2/neu receptor in the cancer cells of breast and ovarian cancer tissue. Supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the team of scientists involved have shown that the cellular process regulated by this receptor vary greatly between different cancer types. As HER2/neu is the target of successful breast cancer therapy, this result is of major significance for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Breast and ovarian cancers can both be hereditary, can both be traced back to the same genetic defect and consequently can both possess a large number of HER2/neu receptors. Why therefore do both cancer types not react in the same way when this receptor is blocked? An approach that has proved to be the biggest success of the past 20 years in the treatment of breast cancer has proved unsuccessful in therapies for ovarian cancer. Dr. Dietmar Pils, a member of the laboratory headed by Prof. Michael Krainer, an oncologist at the Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, has achieved a major breakthrough in finding an answer to this puzzling question.
One Receptor. Two Effects.
The team compared tissue samples from 148 ovarian cancers with results from breast cancer tissue samples and the available patient data. This comparison uncovered interesting differences between the two tissue types. While around 25% of ovarian cancer samples also exhibited a high occurrence of the HER2/neu receptor (a known fact), a different signal molecule (CXCR4) was unaffected in the ovarian cancer tissue. However, breast cancer cells, which exhibit elevated levels of HER2/neu, also produce greater amounts of CXCR4 than healthy cells. The CXCR4 molecule has been linked to the formation of metastases and it is assumed that HER2/neu induces the formation of CXCR4 while simultaneously protecting the molecule against degradation caused by enzymes, thus enabling the cancer to become more aggressive (i.e. metastasising). The results from the Medical University of Vienna now show that the signalling effect produced by HER/2neu is not involved in ovarian cancer.
Molecular Diagnostics Optimise Therapy
Prof. Krainer on the significance of these results: "For almost ten years we have been able to identify hereditary breast cancer using molecular diagnostics and rely on monoclonal antibodies for therapy. The first antibody to be approved for use as a medicine blocks precisely the HER2/neu receptor, thus impeding the cancer’s growth. This is a perfect example of a tailor-made approach to therapy. Our work now reveals just how important it is to carry this differentiation further forward in the development of cancer therapies. After all, in the case of ovarian cancer cells, although the same monoclonal antibody fits this receptor, it has little effect. My laboratory is using findings such as these to create a basis for optimizing the treatment of cancer and to discover where therapies are going wrong. We are very grateful for the support we have received from the FWF, particularly since the potential – including the financial potential – that fundamental research offers for the health system seems not to have been fully recognized yet."
This study, supported by the FWF Austrian Science Fund, clearly demonstrates just how important results from fundamental research can be for state-of-the-art cancer therapy. Furthermore, studies such as this also enable health professionals to choose the optimum treatment for each individual patient from a vast range of therapies. After all, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for cancer.
Till C. Jelitto | alfa
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences