Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UGA researchers identify key enzyme that regulates the early growth of breast cancer cells

19.11.2010
New University of Georgia research, published this week in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found that blocking the action of an enzyme called GnT-V significantly delays the onset and spread of tumors in mice with cancer very similar to many cases of human breast cancer.

When the GnT-V enzyme activity in the cells was increased in mammary gland cells, they increased proliferation and began to take on many characteristics of cancer cells. Using a mouse model of human breast cancer, tumors appeared when the enzyme was deleted, but onset was delayed an average of 10 weeks in the mice.

"In human terms," said Michael Pierce, director of the UGA Cancer Center and study co-author, "the corresponding delay would be many months and maybe years. You basically are slowing everything down and keeping the cancer from forming and progressing very early." Slowing the pace of the cancer could eliminate its spread to other organs, keeping it localized where it could be treated successfully, Pierce explained.

The researchers, lead by Hua-Bei Guo, assistant research scientist in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, stimulated breast cancer formation in mouse mammary glands by over-expressing a her-2 protein that is a growth receptor on the cell surface. The researchers note that over-expression of her-2 is associated with 25 to 30 percent of human breast cancers.

The GnT-V enzyme makes glycans, which are sugars on the cell surface that change in defined ways when the cell becomes cancerous. Glycans are released from the cell as glycoproteins, making them a promising early-detection marker in blood. The researchers studied a glycan made by GnT-V that appears when normal breast cells become cancerous. The GnT-V glycan product is found on her-2 and other receptors and acts to regulate the number of cancer stem cells in the tissue. The number of these cancer stem cells determines how rapidly the cancer will form and develop.

"Glycans often are ignored by scientists, because they're very complicated and present unusual problems to identify and understand," said Pierce. "This study is an example of how particular glycans that are present on various cell receptors can actually modulate the onset of tumor formation. That may give us new drug targets and new ways to kill the cancer cells specifically."

The finding of Guo and the research team at UGA's Complex Carbohydrate Research Center that the elimination of a glycan-synthesizing enzyme significantly reduced the population of breast cancer stem cells is unprecedented, they note.

"That population of cells appears to drive breast tumor formation in many cases," said Pierce, who also is UGA's Mudter Professor in Cancer Research, "and our research suggests that glycans may be potential targets to kill them selectively."

Pierce likened the cancerous stem cells to the queen of an ant colony. "You can try to get rid of the anthill, but it will just come back if you don't kill the queen," Pierce said. "If we can target those cancer stem cells for elimination, that would be the most effective treatment."

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health. For more information on the UGA Cancer Center, see www.uga.edu/cancercenter/.

Michael Pierce | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uga.edu
http://www.uga.edu/cancercenter/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>