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 Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits
26.08.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins
26.08.2016 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Symmetry crucial for building key biomaterial collagen in the lab

26.08.2016 | Health and Medicine

Volcanic eruption masked acceleration in sea level rise

26.08.2016 | Earth Sciences

Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits

26.08.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>