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 New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>