Pancreatic cancer (PC), the subject of this thesis, has the poorest prognosis of all cancers: the survival rate after five years with the disease is less than 5% and on average, patients who have been diagnosed with it do not live longer than six months.
The modus operandi of cells is well known: the genes (DNA) are the masterminds of the system and their role is to give orders. Those orders are transmitted in the form of messages (RNA), which ultimately become molecules that do the work (proteins). Since all cells have similar genes, they are all able to give the same range of orders. However, depending on their role and the signs and information they receive from their surroundings, each cell type sends only specific messages at any one time. While in normal cells this process is carried out following an organized pattern, this pattern of messages changes completely in cancer cells. When pancreatic cells transform into cancer cells, they abandon their usual functions and start sending abnormal messages, which encourage them to quickly divide and invade nearby tissues.
The aim of this PhD was to intercept messages sent by cancerous pancreatic cells and compare them with those sent by healthy pancreatic cells. This comparison would indicate which orders (messages) are the ones that make the cancer grow and invade and which weapons (proteins) it uses to do so. In order to carry out this work we used microarrays or DNA-chips, a technique used for multiple analyses. It allows the detection and quantification of messages sent by thousands of genes. We analysed biopsies of PC as well as samples of healthy pancreas. The RNA (thousands of messages sent by cells) from each sample was extracted and fluorescently labelled. The RNA has the ability to join complementary DNA. The organized DNA fragments contained on a microarray can detect all possible messages sent by the nearly 30,000 genes that exist in the human genome. When RNA is exposed to the microarray, each message binds to its matching DNA, producing fluorescent signal.
The next step was to compare the images obtained from tumour cells with the ones from normal cells. As we do when we solve “Spot the difference” puzzles, we try to find out what makes drawing A different from drawing B; in this case, which messages are being sent by cancerous cells but not by normal cells. However, here we do not have easy drawings with just a few lines as in a puzzle (Figure A). Instead, we compare complex images with hundreds of thousands of different intensity points. In our study we identified a total of 116 messages that were over-expressed in cancerous cells.
These findings reveal some of the orders that allow pancreatic tumours to grow quickly, feed and invade other tissues. Additionally, these messages and the proteins for which they code are potential diagnostic markers and targets to tackle when developing new anti-cancer treatments.
Finally, we generated antibodies that detect the proteins coded by some of the messages. Using a microscope and colour-labelled antibodies, we managed to dye PC cells and to distinguish them from cells of a healthy pancreas or a pancreas with chronic pancreatitis (Fig. B). These results indicate the usefulness of this marker and establish the basis for the development of a differential diagnostic system for PC.
Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Tag it EASI – a new method for accurate protein analysis
20.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries
19.06.2018 | Universität Basel
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
20.06.2018 | Information Technology
20.06.2018 | Information Technology