Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The inhibition of a protein opens the door to the treatment of pancreatic cancer, one of the tumours with the worst prognosis

01.07.2014

The inhibition of a protein opens the door to the treatment of pancreatic cancer, one of the tumours with the worst prognosis

Researchers from IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) have identified a new protein, galectin-1, as a possible therapeutic target for pancreatic cancer. For the first time they have demonstrated the effects of the inhibition of this protein in mice suffering this type of cancer and the results showed an increase in survival of 20%. The work further suggests that it could be a therapeutic target with no adverse effects.

Until now, the strategies for treating this tumour were aimed at attacking the tumour cells and had little success. The latest studies indicate that trying to destroy what surrounds the tumour is possibly a better strategy. “Our contribution is directed toward this, as the reduction of galectin-1 mainly affects the immune system and the cells and structure that surrounds the tumour cells, which is called the stroma. Therefore, galectin-1 as a therapeutic target has great potential”, explains Dr. Pilar Navarro, co-ordinator of the research group on molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis of IMIM and director of the research.

It was known that galectin-1 was not found in the normal pancreas despite being strongly expressed in pancreatic tumours. Furthermore, some clear functions were known which demonstrate the relationship between galectin-1 and tumour progression in other contexts. In fact, some preclinical studies for other diseases use inhibitor molecules and antibodies against this protein. “We are aiming at its possible use in pancreatic cancer” states Dr. Neus Martínez, researcher of the group on molecular mechanisms and tumorigenesis of IMIM and first author of this article. “We have also observed that the elimination of galectin-1 in mice has no harmful consequences, indicating that it could be a safe therapeutic target with no adverse effects”, she adds.

In collaboration with the Hospital del Mar Anatomical Pathology Service, which has analysed some samples, pancreatic tumours were studied in mice with high levels of galectin-1 and after its depletion. They observed that tumours without this protein showed less proliferation, fewer blood vessels, less inflammation and an increase in the immune response. All these changes are associated with less aggressive tumours.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the tumours with the worst prognosis, with a survival rate of less than 2%, 5 years after diagnosis. Although it is not a very common tumour, it is the fourth cause of cancer-related death in developed countries. This is due, on one hand, to the fact that it is often diagnosed too late, when the tumour has already metastasised and, on the other hand, to the inefficacy of current treatments. In Spain 4000 cases are diagnosed each year. Although it is a tumour that is well known at molecular level, its diagnosis and treatment are still one step behind. In fact it is one of the tumours with the least therapeutic advancements in recent years.

The results are very encouraging but we must be prudent as there are many factors to take into account. The researchers now want to move the results obtained to preclinical studies, where they will treat mice with pancreatic cancer with chemical inhibitors or antibodies against galectin-1 (the same treatment that would be used for a cancer patient) in order to verify the therapeutic utility of this target. In the event that they obtain positive results and manage to halt the tumour, the next step would be to propose its use on patients. Obviously we are talking about long-term objectives, as the transfer of studies on animals to humans is usually a slow process.

Reference article:

Galectin-1 drives pancreatic carcinogenesis through stroma remodeling and Hedgehog signaling activation. Neus Martinez-Bosch, Maite G Fernandez-Barrena, Mireia Moreno, Elena Ortiz-Zapater, Jessica Munné-Collado, Mar Iglesias, Sabine André, Hans-Joachim Gabius, Rosa F. Hwang, Françoise Poirier, Carolina Navas, Carmen Guerra, Martin E. Fernández-Zapico, and Pilar Navarro. Cancer Res. Doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3013

Marta Calsina | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.imim.es/news/184/the-inhibition-of-a-protein-opens-the-door-to-the-treatment-of-pancreatic-cancer-one-of-the-tumours-with-the-worst-prognosis

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Unidentified spectra detector
28.06.2016 | European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute

nachricht Freiburg Biologists Explain Function of Pentagone
28.06.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Flexible OLED applications arrive

R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.

In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...

Im Focus: Unexpected flexibility found in odorant molecules

High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!

In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...

Im Focus: 3-D printing produces cartilage from strands of bioink

Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."

Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...

Im Focus: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena

Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.

Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...

Im Focus: Is There Life On Mars?

Survivalist back from Space - 18 months on the outer skin of the ISS

A year and a half on the outer wall of the International Space Station ISS in altitude of 400 kilometers is a real challenge. Whether a primordial bacterium...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Conference ‘GEO BON’ Wants to Close Knowledge Gaps in Global Biodiversity

28.06.2016 | Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rotating ring of complex organic molecules discovered around newborn star

28.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Unidentified spectra detector

28.06.2016 | Life Sciences

Clandestine black hole may represent new population

28.06.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>