Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene Thought to Assist Chemo May Help Cancer Thrive

16.05.2007
A gene thought to be essential in helping chemotherapy kill cancer cells, may actually help them thrive. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Ovarian Cancer Institute conducted a study and found that 70 percent of subjects whose tumors had mutations in the gene known as p53 and had undergone chemotherapy were still alive after five years.

Those patients whose tumors had normal p53 displayed only a 30 percent survival rate. The findings raise the possibility of a new strategy for fighting cancer - namely, developing drugs to disable the functioning of this gene in the tumors of patients undergoing chemotherapy. The results appear in the May 16 edition of the online, peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

"P53 has long been recognized as a key player in directing chemotherapy-damaged cancer cells to self annihilate, but less attention has been paid to p53's role in repairing damaged cells," said John McDonald, chair of Georgia Tech's School of Biology and chief research scientist at the Ovarian Cancer Institute.

When a cell is malfunctioning or injured, the gene p53 is called into action and tries to repair the cell. If the cell can't be repaired,p53 starts a process known as apoptosis that kills the cell. It's p53's role as one of the genes involved in initiating cell death that has led cancer researchers to long believe that the gene is essential to successful chemotherapy. The idea is that p53 assists in killing the cancerous cells that the chemo treatment injures.

... more about:
»Chemo »chemotherapy »ovarian »p53 »repair »treated

But in this latest trial, Georgia Tech researchers found that p53 may be a "double-edged sword." Chemotherapy patients whose tumors had a mutated p53 gene that didn't work had a much better survival rate than those who had normal p53.

In the study, researchers took malignant and benign ovarian tumors straight from the operating room and compared their gene expression profiles. Some of the cancer patients had been treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery, and some had not. At this point researchers didn't consider whether the patients actually had malignant tumors or had been treated with chemotherapy. However, they found that the gene expression profiles of the tumors clustered the chemotherapy-treated patients into two groups: those whose profiles were similar to cancer patients who had not been treated with chemo and those whose profiles were similar to patients with benign tumors.

As they continued their analysis, they found that the main difference between the groups' genetic profiles was the gene p53. While both groups had roughly the same amount of the protein encoded by p53, the cancer group had mutations in their p53 that caused the gene's corresponding protein not to function. The benign group's p53 was normal.

Five years later, only 30 percent of the chemotherapy cancer patients clustering in the benign group were alive, while 70 percent of those clustering in the cancer group were still alive. The stage of cancer at the time of surgery had no correlation to who survived and who didn't. What did seem to have an effect was whether p53 was working or not in the chemotherapy-treated tumors.

A standard belief in cancer research is that a working p53 is essential in helping chemo patients because it turns on the killing mechanism for the cells that were damaged by chemo. But McDonald points out that p53 can also help repair damaged cells. If p53 is repairing cancer cells, that may lead to cancer recurrence.

"We think p53 may actually help some cancer cells make a comeback,"
he said. "Based on our results, we propose that p53 may help repair some of the cancer cells damaged by chemotherapy leading to tumor recurrence and explaining the higher mortality rate of patients whose tumors had a functioning p53. If we are correct, inhibiting p53 in tumors being treated with chemotherapy may substantially improve patients' long-term survival."

McDonald and colleagues are continuing to test their theory by conducting studies in cell cultures and mice. If it bears out, then disabling the gene in tumors, through medications or new genetic techniques during chemotherapy may help patients survive.

In addition to McDonald, the research team consisted of: Benedict Benigno, gynecologic oncologist and founder of the Ovarian Cancer Institute; Lilya Matyunina, Erin B. Dickerson, Nina Schubert, and Nathan J. Bowen from Georgia Tech and the Ovarian Cancer Institute; Sanjay Logani from Emory University; and Carlos Moreno from Emory's Winship Cancer Institute.

The research was supported by the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the Georgia Tech Research Foundation, the Robinson Family Foundation and the Larry and Beth Lawrence Foundation.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosone.org
http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0000441

Further reports about: Chemo chemotherapy ovarian p53 repair treated

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 >>>