Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel technique switches “triple-negative” breast cancer cells to more treatable, hormone-receptor positive cells

02.11.2011
Within many hormone-receptor positive breast cancers lives a subpopulation of receptor-negative cells – knock down the hormone-receptor positive cells with anti-estrogen drugs and you may inadvertently promote tumor takeover by more dangerous, receptor-negative cells.

A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes how to switch these receptor-negative cells back to a state that can be targeted by existing hormone therapies.

“We found that these estrogen-receptor negative cells express high levels of a Notch receptor protein,” says James Haughian, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and instructor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “And when you blockade this Notch activity, you end up with a pure population of hormone-receptor positive cells.”

Very basically, within a breast cancer, you frequently have different kinds of cells living together – some that have estrogen receptors and thus need to “grab” estrogen in order to survive, grow and replicate. And, Haughian finds, some with similar Notch receptors that need to “grab” Notch proteins in order to survive, grow and replicate. On cells without estrogen receptors but with Notch receptors, they blockade this Notch pathway and the cell again becomes dependent on estrogen – and thus likely treatable with anti-estrogen therapies.

“It’s rare to get something that works so fantastically well as this,” Haughian says.

Whether this switch from hormone-insensitive to hormone-sensitive is due to basic evolution – killing the triple-negative cells leaves more resources for the growth of hormone-receptor positive cells – or whether inhibiting Notch signaling, in fact, causes triple-negative cells to grow hormone receptors is still under investigation.

Whatever the precise mechanism, drugs that inhibit this Notch activity are already in clinical trials for breast cancer. However, Kathryn Horwitz, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and Distinguished Professor of Endocrinology at the CU School of Medicine theorizes that, “Monotherapy with a Notch inhibitor might not be enough on its own, but may convert the cancer into a hormone-therapy treatable state.”

This finding that Notch inhibition converts a triple-negative cancer subpopulation to a hormone-receptor positive population implies the potential usefulness of combination therapy – perhaps a Notch inhibitor to make all the cancer’s cells hormone-sensitive, followed by an anti-estrogen to treat them.

“Theorizing that and proving it is another matter,” Horwitz says. “But if a clinician came knocking on our door, we’d say hey, let’s try it.”

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation for Women

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

Further reports about: Cancer Colorado river Medicine Notch Signaling estrogen receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth
01.03.2017 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg

nachricht Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
01.03.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A better way to measure the stiffness of cancer cells

01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Exploring the mysteries of supercooled water

01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth

01.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>