Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

To Prevent Cancer in Butterfly Disease Patients

11.03.2016

Researchers have revealed how a rare genetic skin condition causes aggressive skin tumours

Fragile skin that blisters easily: 90 percent of the patients that suffer from the skin condition recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) develop rapidly progressing cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas, a type of skin cancer, by the age of 55.


Cells of a cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (green) that invade the skin. Image by: Dr. Venugopal Rao Mittapalli

80 percent of these patients will die due to metastasis within five years after the cancer has been first detected. Researchers from the University of Freiburg and the University’s Medical Center have discovered how the two diseases are connected and which molecular mechanisms underlie the aggressive behaviour of squamous cell carcinomas in RDEB patients.

Furthermore, the dermatologists and biologists found new potential targets for the development of drugs. Dr. Venugopal Rao Mittapalli, Prof. Dr. Leena Bruckner-Tuderman, Dr. Dimitra Kiritsi and Dr. Alexander Nyström from the Medical Center – University of Freiburg conducted the study in cooperation with Juniorprofessor Dr. Winfried Römer and Dr. Josef Madl from the University of Freiburg and BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies. The team published the research findings in the journal “Cancer Research”.

Epidermolysis Bullosa, also known as butterfly disease, is a genetic skin condition. The skin of patients with this disease is as fragile as the wings of a butterfly. It blisters easily in response to minor injury or friction such as rubbing or scratching. Furthermore, the patients develop chronic wounds that are not healing and their fingers and toes fuse, for example.

The condition is caused by a mutation of the gene COL7A1, which contains the blueprint for the protein collagen VII. This protein helps to bind the epidermis and the dermis, two layers of the skin, together. In RDEB patient, collagen VII is completely absent and, therefore, the skin becomes fragile.

So far, little was known about the molecular mechanisms connecting squamous cell carcinomas and RDEB. The Freiburg research team discovered that the cancer progresses rapidly in RDEB patients, because the repeated mechanical injury alters the dermis. The amount of proteins called pro-fibrotic growth factors increases, thereby increasing stiffness of the dermis. This environment helps the tumour cells to spread.

The researchers have also identified mechanisms that could be potential drug targets. For example, molecules that inhibit the growth factor TGF reduce the stiffness and the spread of the RDEB cancer cells. “The new knowledge we have gained facilitates the design of prophylactic and therapeutic measures for delaying tumour progression and extending cancer-free periods in RDEB,” says Venugopal Rao Mittapalli, the first author of the study.

Leena Bruckner-Tuderman is Director of the Department of Dermatology of the Medical Center – University of Freiburg. Dimitra Kiritsi, Venugopal Rao Mittapalli und Alexander Nyström are researchers in Bruckner-Tuderman’s group. Winfried Römer is juniorprofessor for Synthetic Biology of Signalling Processes at the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies and the Institute of Biology II of the University of Freiburg. Josef Madl is postdoctoral scientist in Römer’s research group.

Original publication:
Mittapalli VR, Madl J, Löffek S, Kiritsi D, Kern JS, Römer W, Nyström A, Bruckner-Tuderman L. (2016). Injury-Driven Stiffening of the Dermis Expedites Skin Carcinoma Progression. In: Cancer Res. 76(4):940-51. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-1348.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Leena Bruckner-Tuderman
Department of Dermatology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 270 - 67010
E-Mail: leena.bruckner-tuderman@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Dr. Venugopal Rao Mittapalli
Department of Dermatology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 / 270 - 67210
E-Mail: venugopal.rao.mittapalli@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/2016/pm.2016-03-10.36-en?set_language=en

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Severity of enzyme deficiency central to favism
26.07.2016 | Universität Zürich

nachricht From vision to hand action
26.07.2016 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Self-assembling nano inks form conductive and transparent grids during imprint

Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.

To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...

Im Focus: The Glowing Brain

A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology

On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New movie screen allows for glasses-free 3-D

26.07.2016 | Information Technology

Scientists develop painless and inexpensive microneedle system to monitor drugs

26.07.2016 | Health and Medicine

Astronomers discover dizzying spin of the Milky Way galaxy's 'halo'

26.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>