In a preclinical study led by Maria Diaz-Meco, PhD, the UC team found that simultaneous inactivation of two particular genes—known as PTEN and Par-4—caused the rapid development of invasive prostate cancer tumors in mice.
"We knew that independent mutations in either of these genes could result in benign tumors, but when those changes occur simultaneously it appears to have a synergistic effect that causes prostate cancer," explains Diaz-Meco, an associate professor of cancer and cell biology at UC and corresponding author of the paper. "This switch affects the cell's ability to both grow and survive, leading to more aggressive and invasive tumors."
"This is an important discovery because—until now—those signaling pathways were not clearly defined. Without a clear molecular target, it's impossible to develop effective drugs to treat this disease without causing harm to the patient," she adds.
Diaz-Meco and her team report their findings online ahead of print in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) the week of May 18.
PTEN is a well-defined gene shown to be suppressed in prostate cancer tumors, as well as in other types of cancer. Its mutation has been shown to result in the formation of benign tumors. Par-4 gene is also mutated in prostate cancer, but this study is the first to report its relationship with PTEN mutations and aggressive prostate cancer tumor development.
The UC study was done in a laboratory mouse model over the course of two years. Data from the mouse model was correlated and compared to human prostate cancer tissue samples to determine if their findings were applicable in humans as well.
"Theoretically, this new knowledge could be used to better categorize a tumor's aggressiveness by measuring the levels of PTEN and Par-4 expressed in a tissue biopsy," adds Diaz-Meco. "That would help clinicians make tough decisions about how aggressively to treat a patient's prostate cancer and minimize unnecessary treatment."
Cancer and cell biologists are working on identifying the molecular targets involved in cancer progression to develop a better understand the mechanisms of action that lead to prostate cancer so that pharmaceutical companies and clinicians can develop better methods of diagnosing and treating the disease.
Funding for this study comes from the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health. Coauthors of the study include UC's Shadi Abu-Baker, Jayashree Joshi, Anita Galvez, Elias Castilla, and Jorge Moscat, PhD. Spanish National Cancer Research Center's scientists Pablo Fernandez-Marcos, Marta Canamero, Manuel Collado, Gema Moreno-Bueno and Manuel Serrano and Carmen Saez of the Biotechnology Centre of Oslo in Norway also contributed to the study.
Amanda Harper | EurekAlert!
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy