Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stem cell indicator for bowel cancer should lead to better survival rates

20.08.2008
Stem cell scientists have developed a more accurate way of identifying aggressive forms of bowel cancer, which should eventually lead to better treatment and survival rates. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK.

The UK-led team, headed by scientists from Durham University and the North East England Stem Cell Institute, (NESCI*), studied tissue samples from 700 colorectal (bowel) cancer patients and tracked their progress.

They found that patients who had a stem cell marker protein called Lamin A present in their tissue were more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease.

The team concluded that if the marker is detected in the early forms of colorectal cancer, these patients should be given chemotherapy in addition to the surgery normally offered to ensure a better survival predicament.

The team now aims to develop a robust prognostic tool for use in the health service.

The study, funded by the Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) and NHS Research and Development funds, is published in the open-access scientific journal Public Library of Science One (PLOS One).

The Durham University/NESCI scientists worked with colleagues from The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, and the Departments of Pathology and Epidemiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, where each year more than 36,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. Worldwide over a million new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in 2002.

Almost three-quarters of bowel cancer cases occur in people aged 65 and over. The development of disease is linked with diet, lifestyle and environmental factors. (Source of statistics: Cancer Research UK fact sheet).

In colorectal cancer, there are four key stages of the disease. The stage of a patient’s cancer is determined by a series of hospital tests, the results of which determine the treatment they are given.

In the two earlier stages, before the cancer involves the lymph nodes, patients normally have an operation to remove the cancer from the bowel. They are rarely given chemotherapy in addition to the surgery. This is because for many patients, who are often elderly and frail, chemotherapy may cause more harm than benefit. It’s therefore critical to know when and in whom it should be used.

However, the new study suggests that around one third of these patients will express the Lamin A stem cell marker, which indicates a more serious form of the cancer. These patients, argue the scientists, should be given chemotherapy to target these stem cells, which should ultimately improve their recovery and survival rates.

Study co-author Professor Chris Hutchison, of Durham University and NESCI, said: “Currently the hospitals use a standard test to work out how far the cancer has progressed and then they use this to determine the treatment the patient should receive. However, we are potentially able to more accurately predict who would benefit from chemotherapy.”

Co-author Dr Stefan Przyborski, of Durham University and NESCI, said: “We now aim to carry out more work in this area to develop a prognostic tool which we hope will eventually be for widespread use by the health services in the treatment of bowel cancer.”

Professor Robert Wilson, a consultant surgeon and bowel cancer specialist at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, also a research team member, said: “We have a very high number of patients with bowel cancer in the north east of England in particular. We know the best treatment for very early and very late disease but there are still a lot of unknowns in-between these two extremes.

“Chemotherapy can be very useful but can have a number of side effects, so we only want to use it where we think there’s a good chance it will help. This test will help us determine that.”

Mark Matfield, Scientific Adviser with the Association for International Cancer Research, said: "There is a desperate need for more effective treatments for bowel cancer. The problem is identifying which cancers need which treatments. This discovery may show us the way to do that and help save a lot of lives."

* ‘The North-east England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) draws together Durham and Newcastle Universities, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and other partners in a unique interdisciplinary collaboration to convert stem cell research and technologies into cost-effective, ethically-robust 21st century health solutions to ameliorate degenerative diseases, the effects of ageing and serious injury. The Institute has received substantial funding and other support from the Regional Development Agency, One NorthEast and is partly based at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle.’ http://www.nesci.ac.uk/

Alex Thomas | alfa
Further information:
http://www.durham.ac.uk
http://www.nesci.ac.uk

Further reports about: Cancer Cell Lamin A Stem Stem cell bowel bowel cancer chemotherapy colorectal cancer survival

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>