Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers follow a path to a potential therapy for NF2, a rare tumor disorder

18.04.2011
The proteins that provide cells with a sense of personal space could lead to a therapeutic target for Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), an inherited cancer disorder, according to researchers at The Wistar Institute. Their findings, which appear in the April 12 issue of the journal Cancer Cell, could have profound implications for NF2 and related cancers, such as mesothelioma.

The researchers describe, for the first time, that Merlin, the protein encoded within the NF2 gene interacts with a protein called angiomotin. This connection between Merlin and angiomotin also brings together two important information networks in cells, both of which have been implicated in numerous forms of cancer. It is a connection, the researchers say, between the sensors that detect interactions between cells and the signaling networks that drive cell division.

"Angiomotin is required for movement of cells that form new blood vessels, so it is fascinating to see it so closely linked to merlin, the product of the NF2 gene, loss of which leads to tumor formation," said Joseph Kissil, Ph.D., senior author of the study and associate professor in the Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center. "The discovery opens up a potential new method to treat NF2 by attacking the tumor cells directly and by starvation, a strategy already employed in certain cancer therapies."

"Drugs like Avastin, for example, target the growing blood vessels," Kissil said, "but what makes angiomotin a tempting target is that it is used by both blood vessels and the growing tumor cells that need the nutrients these blood vessels provide."

NF2 is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation in both copies of a person's NF2 gene. It occurs in about one in every 30,000 people, and it is mostly hereditary. NF2 generally appears as benign tumors in the nervous system of young adults, often causing deafness as tumors affect the auditory nerves. While the tumors are mostly benign, more malignant tumors may eventually arise. Moreover, even the benign tumors often cause debilitating pain as they spread throughout the nervous system. There is currently no treatment for NF2 other than surgery to remove tumors as they appear.

Mutations in the NF2 gene disrupt the function of the gene's protein product, Merlin, which is part of an elaborate molecular signaling pathway that regulates how cells grow and divide. These pathways are akin to information channels, and disrupting one protein can alter the function of other proteins both upstream and downstream along the channel. Merlin is particularly interesting to cancer biologists, as the mutations have been found in about half of all cases of the deadly lung cancer mesothelioma, and in some instances of thyroid, bladder and other cancers.

According to Kissil, Merlin normally stops cells from growing once they come into contact with adjacent cells. That is, Merlin binds to the angiomotin at "junctions," areas where cells come into contact with each other. When bound together, the interacting proteins relate a signal to the cell that, essentially, orders it to cease further growth and movement. It is a way for cells to coordinate their growth within a tissue. Cancerous cells, for example, often lack that sense of inhibition, and they will continue growing unchecked.

The Kissil laboratory plans to continue their exploration of angiomotin as a potential therapeutic target for treating NF2, as well as look into the role of angiomotin in other cancers known to be affected by NF2 mutations.

Funding for this study was provided in part through a grant to Kissil from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The study was also supported by a Young Investigator Award from the Children's Tumor Foundation to Chunling Yi, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Kissil laboratory.

Wistar collaborators also include research assistants Scott Troutman and Neepa Christian; graduate students Daniela Fera and Jacqueline L. Avila; and Wistar professors David W. Speicher, Ph.D. and Ronen Marmorstein, Ph.D. Co-authors also include Akihiko Shimono, Ph.D., of the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at the National University of Singapore; Lars Holmgren, Ph.D., and Nathalie L. Persson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden; and Anat Stemmer-Rachamimov, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today's Discoveries – Tomorrow's Cures.

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wistar.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>