The compound silences a gene that triggers the formation of metastases in colon cancer. Professor Ulrike Stein (Experimental and Clinical Research Center, Charité/Max Delbrück Center, MDC, Berlin, Germany) made this discovery in collaboration with Professor Robert H. Shoemaker (National Cancer Institute, NCI, Frederick, Maryland, USA (JNCI, Vol. 103, No. 12, June 17, 2011)*. Plans are already underway with Professor Peter M. Schlag (Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center) to conduct a clinical trial.
Colon cancer is one of the most common tumor diseases in Western countries. In Germany alone, there are approximated 73 000 new cases of the disease every year. Despite surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, only about half of the affected patients are cured.
The reason is that around 20 percent of the colon cancer patients already have metastases at diagnosis and in about one third of the patients, metastasis occurs despite successful initial treatment. Of these patients with metastatic colon cancer, the five-year survival rate is only about 10 percent. By contrast, for nonmetastatic colon cancer patients the survival rate is 90 percent.
Scientists have known for several years that the gene S100A4/metastasin can initiate colon cancer metastasis. Five years ago Professor Stein, working together with Professor Schlag and Professor Walter Birchmeier (MDC), showed how this gene is regulated. They found that the beta-catenin gene, when mutant, activates this S100A4/metastasin gene, thus triggering colon cancer metastasis. Beta-catenin normally regulates cellular adhesion.
The scientists looked for compounds that block the expression of the metastasin gene. They screened 1280 compounds and found what they were looking for: niclosamide, a drug until now approved for use to treat intestinal parasite infections from tapeworms.
Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that niclosamide inhibits the beta catenin-driven expression of the S100A4/metastasin gene, both in the cell culture and in mice. The animals had fewer metastases. Next, the researchers want to conduct clinical trials to find out whether the compound is also effective in patients with metastasizing colon cancer.
Ulrike Sack, Wolfgang Walther, Dominic Scuiero, Mike Selby, Dennis Kobelt, Margit Lemm, Iduna Fichtner, Peter M. Schlag, Robert H. Shoemaker, Ulrike Stein
Experimental and Clinical Research Center , Charité University Medicine at the Max Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, BerlinBarbara Bachtler
Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
24.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Information Technology
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering