Novel technology developed at UT Health San Antonio gives rise to mouse pancreatic tumors that have the same traits as human pancreatic cancer. A U.S. patent is pending on the invention.
The technology could revolutionize studies of pancreatic cancer initiation and progression and spur new drug development. An article published in the journal Carcinogenesis (Oxford University Press) describes this unique approach. Results of the research were made available online in November 2017 ahead of peer-review and print publication in February 2018.
UT Health San Antonio scientist Dr. Bruno Doiron has invented a unique method to generate, in mice, pancreatic tumors that resemble human pancreatic cancer. This will be a tool researchers can use to develop new drugs that extend patients' lives, and it is a tool researchers have not had at their disposal before.
Credit: Dr. Bruno Doiron/UT Health San Antonio
Scientists study pancreatic cancer by genetically engineering mice to develop the disease or by transplanting tumors into rodents to test drug activity. In both cases, the resulting tumors provide an artificial, rather than true, picture of the human disease, said the technology's inventor, Bruno Doiron, Ph.D., of UT Health San Antonio.
"For a decade, we have failed in treating pancreatic cancer because we didn't have a good way to test new drugs," Dr. Doiron, an assistant professor in the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine, said.
Pancreatic cancer kills 95 percent of patients within five years of diagnosis. Advances in therapy have been negligible, with chemotherapies only able to extend survival by a few months. Need for a new study tool is therefore urgent.
Dr. Doiron and his lab team are injecting a modified virus into the adult mouse pancreas. The virus is a delivery vehicle for two pro-cancer molecules (called KrasG12D mutation and shRNA p53) that are present in human pancreatic tumors.
Upon injection, the virus permeates the pancreas with these pro-cancer factors. The effect is contained; only the pancreas is altered by this molecular cocktail. When the mice reach 28 to 30 weeks of age, tumors develop that resemble human pancreatic cancer.
"I take the two major genetic mutations involved in human pancreatic cancer and inject them directly to the pancreas, and tumors develop in the adult mice," Dr. Doiron said. "This bypasses the artificial manipulation introduced by other methods, and spontaneous cancers develop that mimic those found in people."
The procedure is performed in mice that are not of any special breeding or stock. They are from many different parents. This ensures that the development of pancreatic cancer is in a random nature, the way it occurs in humans.
A step forward
The Carcinogenesis article "is an important paper for the field of pancreatic cancer, because it demonstrates that all previous methods of study are obsolete," Dr. Doiron said.
Obesity and diabetes are major risk factors for pancreatic cancer. The risk of pancreatic cancer is increased 1.5-fold in obese subjects and two- to threefold in people with diabetes. The new technology can be used to delve into this link.
"The prevalence of obesity and Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions during the last two decades in the U.S. and worldwide, and this may explain, in part, why the death rate from pancreatic cancer has not declined in the same way as it has for some other cancers," Dr. Doiron said.
Ruben A. Mesa, M.D., FACP, director of the Mays Cancer Center, the newly named center home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, commented: "This important work by Dr. Doiron and colleagues will allow us to better predict which treatments for the devastating disease of pancreatic cancer will be effective. These discoveries are a much-needed advance on efforts to cure pancreatic cancer."
About UT Health San Antonio
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with missions of teaching, research and healing, is one of the country's leading health sciences universities and is now called UT Health San Antonio™. UT Health San Antonio's schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 33,000 alumni who are advancing their fields throughout the world. With seven campuses in San Antonio and Laredo, UT Health San Antonio has a FY 2018 revenue operating budget of $838.4 million and is the primary driver of its community's $37 billion biomedical and health care industry. For more information on the many ways "We make lives better®," visit http://www.
Will Sansom | EurekAlert!
Research offers clues for improved influenza vaccine design
09.04.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Organoids created from patients' bladder cancers could guide treatment
06.04.2018 | Columbia University Medical Center
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.
Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...
The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.
“We detected a specific pattern of ocean cooling south of Greenland and unusual warming off the US coast – which is highly characteristic for a slowdown of the...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences