Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic Lethality Offers a New Approach to Kill Tumor Cells, Explains Moffitt Cancer Center Researcher

31.10.2014

The scientific community has made significant strides in recent years in identifying important genetic contributors to malignancy and developing therapeutic agents that target altered genes and proteins.

A recent approach to treat cancer called synthetic lethality takes advantage of genetic alterations in cancer cells that make them more susceptible to certain drugs. Alan F. List, MD, president and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center, co-authored an article on synthetic lethality featured in the October 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Genetic alterations in cancer in humans may involve gene inactivation, amplification or inactivation,” said List. These changes are not present in nonmalignant cells. Common chemotherapeutic agents aggressively kill tumor cells irrespective of genetic alterations. They also have a negative impact on normal cells and can cause significant side effects. Synthetic lethality harnesses the genetic differences between tumor cells and normal cells to minimize the effects on normal cells, and maximize a drug’s effects on cancer cells.

Synthetic lethality can target a variety of cellular defects, including alterations in DNA repair, cell-cycle control and metabolism. This approach can also be used to target interactions between tumor cells and surrounding normal cells that promote tumor survival and oncogenes that drive tumorigenesis that are difficult to target directly. Many of the synthetic lethal drugs and targets have been identified in large-scale drug screens of the entire human genome.

An example of synthetic lethality is the recent approach being investigated to treat breast cancer patients with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. BRCA1 plays an important role is repairing damaged DNA. Women who have mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 have an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer because their cells cannot properly repair DNA. This suggests that BRCA mutated breast cancer cells may be more susceptible to drugs that target DNA. Laboratory studies have confirmed this hypothesis by showing that agents that target another DNA repair protein called PARP significantly kill BRCA mutated cells. Several PARP inhibitors are now being investigated in clinical trials in breast cancer patients, and early results are promising.

“The goal of current anticancer approaches is to offer individualized and highly selective therapy. The treatment model for many anticancer approaches has been expanded, with movement away from dose-intensive, non-targeted cytotoxic agents to combination chemoimmunotherapy, new therapeutic combinations and targeted agents,” said List. Synthetic lethality approaches may provide an additional avenue for individualized patient treatment.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in the Southeast and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,500 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on Florida of nearly $1.6 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Kim Polacek | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://moffitt.org/home/moffitt-in-the-news/press-releases/2014/list-nejm-synthetic-lethality-2014

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>