Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study details genes that control whether tumors adapt or die when faced with p53 activating drugs

23.05.2013
When turned on, the gene p53 turns off cancer. However, when existing drugs boost p53, only a few tumors die – the rest resist the challenge.
A study published in the journal Cell Reports shows how: tumors that live even in the face of p53 reactivation create more of the protein p21 than the protein PUMA; tumors that die have more PUMA than p21. And, for the first time, the current study shows a handful of genes that control this ratio.

“The gene p53 is one of the most commonly mutated cancer genes. Tumors turn it off and then they can avoid controls that should kill them. Fine: we have drugs that can reactivate p53. But the bad news is when we go into the clinic with these drugs, only maybe one in ten tumors actually dies. We wanted to know what genes fine-tune this p53 effectiveness,” says Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, associate professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at CU Boulder, and the paper’s senior author.

To answer that question, the group including first author Zdenek Andrisyk, PhD, postdoc in the Espinosa Lab, turned off every gene in the human genome in turn and asked if there were genes that, when deactivated, would tip the balance from p21 to PUMA, thus enhancing the likelihood of cell death.

“We found a couple dozen genes involved in this ratio – genes that with p53 activated, lead to more p21 and better survival or more PUMA and more cell death,” Espinosa says.

The hope is that in addition to drugs that reactivate the tumor-suppressor gene p53, patients could be given a second drug targeting genes that control this p21/PUMA ratio, thus making first drug more effective. Likewise, in cases in which toxicity in healthy tissue limits the use of p53 activating drugs, Espinosa’s research could lead to new drugs that thumb the scale of the p21/PUMA ratio toward survival in these healthy tissues. Up or down: learning to adjust the ratio has immense promise.

The group’s next step is likely repeating the genetic screen with additional tumor and healthy cell lines to discover which of their newly discovered candidate genes are common controllers of the p21/PUMA ratio across cancer types. And, interestingly, the same technique could be used to make many existing drugs more effective.

“With many of these molecularly targeted therapies, you want one effect but then you end up with many other possible effects,” Espinosa says. (An example is the recently-reported side effect of low testosterone in male lung cancer patient taking the molecularly targeted drug crizotinib.) The genetic screening technique used in the Espinosa lab could help disentangle effect from side effect – showing which secondary genes regulate the desired, tumor-killing response and which secondary genes lead to undesirable side-effects.

“Not only could this technique lead to drugs that decrease the side effects of targeted therapies, but if you’re not limited by these side effects, you can simply give more drug, perhaps making existing drugs much more powerful,” Espinosa says.

Garth Sundem | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdenver.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

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

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>