Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two at One Stroke - How Cells Protect Themselves from Cancer - New Findings of MDC and Charité Researchers

16.03.2010
Cells have two different protection programs to safeguard them from getting out of control under stress and from dividing without stopping and developing cancer.

Until now, researchers assumed that these protective systems were prompted separately from each other. Now for the first time, using an animal model for lymphoma, cancer researchers of the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) Berlin-Buch and the Charité - University Hospital Berlin in Germany have shown that these two protection programs work together through an interaction with normal immune cells to prevent tumors. Their findings may be of fundamental importance in the fight against cancer (Cancer Cell, DOI 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.12.043).

Researchers have known for some time that - paradoxically - oncogenes themselves can activate these cell protection programs in an early developmental stage of the disease. This may explain why some tumors take decades to develop until the outbreak of the disease. The Myc oncogene triggers apoptosis (programmed cell death), inducing damaged cells to commit suicide in order to protect the organism as a whole. By means of chemotherapy, physicians activate this protection program to treat cancer.

The second protection program - not as well understood as apoptosis - is senescence (biological aging). This program is triggered by another oncogene, the ras gene. Senescence stops the cell cycle, and the cell can no longer divide. But in contrast to apoptosis the cell continues to live and is still metabolically active. Professor Schmitt, physician at Charité University Hospital and research group leader at the MDC, was able to show on an animal model for lymphoma that senescence can block the development of early-stage malignant tumors.

Myc oncogene triggers cascade to activate both protection programs
Now, for the first time, Dr. Reimann, Dr. Soyoung Lee, Dr. Christoph Loddenkemper, Dr. Jan R. Dörr, Dr. Vedrana Tabor and Professor Schmitt have provided evidence that the Myc oncogene plays a key role in the activation of both protection programs - without the presence of the ras oncogene. "What is remarkable about this finding is that an oncogene can first trigger apoptosis and interact with the tumor stroma - the tissue that surrounds the tumor which also contains healthy cells - and with the immune system and then is able to switch on signals which lead to tumor senescence," Professor Schmitt said, summarizing how the interaction works.
"Fundamental significance"
According to the researchers' findings, the cascade occurs as follows: First the Myc oncogene triggers apoptosis in the lymphoma cells. The dying, apoptotic cells attract macrophages of the immune system, which devour and dispose of the dead lymphoma cells. The thus activated macrophages in turn secrete messenger molecules (cytokines), including the cytokine TGF-beta. It can block the growth of cancer cells in the early stage of a tumor disease. The MDC and Charité researchers discovered that the cytokines in the tumor cells that had escaped apoptosis switch on the senescence program and suppress the cancer cells.

"Our findings promise to have fundamental significance for elucidating the pathogenesis not only of lymphoma cancers, but of cancer in general. Our results indicate that senescence triggered by the immune system's messenger molecules may be a further important active principle, apart from apoptosis induced by chemotherapy."

At present the researchers in Professor Schmitt's group are focusing intensively on chemotherapy-mediated senescence. "If by inducing senescence we could obtain a sustained suppression of the cancer cells we can no longer destroy, this would mean exciting new possibilities for therapy," Professor Schmitt said.

*Tumor Stroma-Derived TGF-? Limits Myc-Driven Lymphomagenesis via Suv39h1-Dependent Senescence

Maurice Reimann1,6, Soyoung Lee1,2,6, Christoph Loddenkemper3,6, Jan R. Dörr1,6, Vedrana Tabor2,6, Peter Aichele4, Harald Stein3, Bernd Dörken1,2, Thomas Jenuwein5, and Clemens A. Schmitt1,2

1Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin/Molekulares Krebsforschungszentrum der Charité - MKFZ, Berlin, Germany
2Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
3Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin/Department of Pathology, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany
4University Hospital Freiburg, Department of Immunology, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
5Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria (present address: Max-Planck-Institute of Immunology, Freiburg, Germany)
6These authors contributed equally to this work
Correspondence: clemens.schmitt@charite.de. Fon +49-30-450 553 687; Fax +49-30-450 553 986
Barbara Bachtler
Press and Public Affairs
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Robert-Rössle-Straße 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 96
Fax: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 33
e-mail: presse@mdc-berlin.de

Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Further information:
http://www.mdc-berlin.de/

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>