McGill University researchers have uncovered the crucial role played by the enzyme focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in the onset of breast cancer. The research, led by Dr. William Muller – along with colleagues from McGill and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Scotland – was published the week of November 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study's first author is Dr. Hicham Lahlou, a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Muller's lab.
Using transgenic mice with pre-existing cancers, the McGill team was able to disable the function of FAK in the mammary gland. "When we did that, we basically blocked tumour progression in our mouse model," said Dr. Muller, Professor of Biochemistry at McGill, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Oncology and a researcher with the Molecular Oncology Group at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). "This shows that FAK, which was already linked to tumour growth in skin carcinomas, is very critical for tumour progression from a pre-malignant to a malignant state in the mammary tumour system."
Dr. Muller and his team made a similar breakthrough with an earlier discovery in 2004, when they showed that the protein beta1-integrin was similarly critical in the initiation of tumour growth and development of breast cancer in genetically engineered mice. Likewise, when this gene was blocked, cancerous tumours ceased to grow. The current discovery about FAK is an exciting sequel to the earlier research, says Dr. Muller, because, unlike beta1-integrin, kinase enzymes are eminently "druggable" with current technology.
Dr. Muller cautions that this study – like the Beatson Institute's earlier research linking FAK to tumour progression in skin carcinomas – is still preliminary. "However, developing an FAK inhibitor would certainly add another weapon to the arsenal for dealing with breast cancer," he said.
Mark Shainblum | McGill University
Research team creates new possibilities for medicine and materials sciences
22.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent
22.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.01.2018 | Life Sciences