Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough In The Understanding Of How Pancreatic Cancer Cells Ingest Nutrients Points To New Drug Target

14.05.2013
Discovery Suggests Novel Way to Starve Tumors and Deliver Medications

In a landmark cancer study published online in Nature, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have unraveled a longstanding mystery about how pancreatic tumor cells feed themselves, opening up new therapeutic possibilities for a notoriously lethal disease with few treatment options.

Pancreatic cancer kills nearly 38,000 Americans annually, making it a leading cause of cancer death. The life expectancy for most people diagnosed with it is less than a year.

Now new research reveals a possible chink in the armor of this recalcitrant disease. Many cancers, including pancreatic, lung, and colon cancer, feature a mutated protein known as Ras that plays a central role in a complex molecular chain of events that drives cancer cell growth and proliferation. It is well known that Ras cancer cells have special nutrient requirements to grow and survive. But how Ras cells cope to actually meet their extraordinary nutrient requirements has been poorly understood—until now.
In the study, led by Cosimo Commisso, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at NYU School of Medicine, show for the first time how Ras cancer cells exploit a process called macropinocytosis to swallow up the protein albumin, which cells then harvest for amino acids essential for growth.

“A big mystery is how certain tumors meet their excessive nutrient demands ,” says Dr. Commisso, whose work is funded in part by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “We believe they accomplish this by macropinocytosis.”

The findings suggest that Ras cancer cells are particularly dependent on macropinocytosis for growth and survival. When the researchers used a chemical to block the uptake of albumin via macropinocytosis in mice with pancreatic tumors, the tumors stopped growing and in some cases even shrank. Moreover, pancreatic cancer cells in mice featured more macropinosomes—the vesicles that transport nutrients deep into a cell—than normal mouse cells.
The discovery of a “protein eating” mechanism unique to some cancer cells sets the stage for drugs that could block the engulfing process without causing collateral damage to healthy cells and suggests new ways to ferry chemotherapeutic cargo into the heart of cancer cells.

“This work offers up a completely different way to target cancer metabolism,” says lead principal investigator of the study Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, senior vice president and vice dean for Science, chief scientific officer and professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, NYU Langone Medical Center, who first identified macropinocytosis in Ras-transformed cancer cells. “It’s exciting to think that we can cause the demise of some cancer cells simply by blocking this nutrient delivery process.”

Crucial to the team’s findings is the work of Matthew G. Vander Heiden, assistant professor of biology at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and Christian Metallo, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of California at San Diego, who characterized how Ras cells derive energy from the constituent amino acids released after protein engulfment.

Other key contributors include Craig B. Thompson, president and CEO of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Joshua D. Rabinowitz, professor of chemistry at the Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.

Media Inquiries:
Christopher Rucas
212.404.3525
Christopher.Rucas@nyumc.org

Christopher Rucas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nyumc.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>