Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Obesity drug helps unlock clues about cancer

05.02.2007
An approved drug for fighting obesity is helping scientists at Wake Forest University School of Medicine uncover clues about how to stop the growth of cancerous tumors.

"Our discovery makes an exciting treatment target because theoretically you don't have to worry about harming nearby healthy tissue," said senior researcher Steven J. Kridel, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology.

In the current issue of Cancer Research, Kridel and colleagues are the first to report that a tubular network within cells, known as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), is regulated by an enzyme that is tightly linked to tumor growth and development.

"When the ER cannot do its job properly, there's a series of events that gets turned on that can lead to cell suicide or death," said Kridel.

... more about:
»Cancer »Kridel »acid »enzyme »synthase »tumor cells

The research showed that an enzyme known as fatty acid synthase is vital for the ER to do its job. Blocking this enzyme, which makes fat in cells, has been shown to prevent tumor cell growth and to promote cell death.

"No one had made connection before between fatty acid synthase and the function of the ER in tumor cells," said Kridel. "This is the first to show that fatty acid synthesis is important in maintaining ER function and keeping tumor cells alive."

The researchers started the work five years ago when they analyzed prostate cancer cells to see which proteins and enzymes were expressed at high levels. Their hope was that treatments that reduced those levels could also stop tumor growth.

"We found that fatty acid synthase is expressed at high levels in tumor cells, but is fairly absent in normal cells," said Kridel. "Other researchers had made similar findings in other types of cancer cells, so we decided to follow up because it looked promising.

"We then made the surprising finding that OrlistatTM, a drug approved by the FDA to treat obesity, can block the function of fatty acid synthase, prevent tumor cell growth and promote tumor cell death."

Finding out exactly how the drug worked was the next step, so that better treatments could be developed. While effective in mice, Olistat's current formulation cannot be given to humans as a cancer treatment because it acts only in the digestive tract.

In the current study, Kridel and colleagues treated prostate, colon and cervical cancer cells in the laboratory with Olistat and two other agents to understand why blocking fatty acid synthase induces cell death.

"Our goal was to understand how fatty acid synthase contributes to tumor growth," said Kridel. "This might provide an explanation for why this enzyme is expressed at high levels."

Now that the scientists understand that the ER is involved -- and that inhibiting fatty acid synthase can impair its function -- they are working to develop new treatments for cancer therapy.

They are exploring the possibility of using existing FDA-approved drugs, as well as developing new drugs. They've already determined that the structure of Orlistat bound to fatty acid synthase, which is the first step in developing similar agents that could be used in humans.

"Our latest findings that connect fatty acid synthase and ER function gives us a better understanding about how the drug kills tumor cells and give us clues to make better drugs," said Kridel. "For any drugs we develop, we'll need to show that they impair the function of the ER."

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

Further reports about: Cancer Kridel acid enzyme synthase tumor cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>