University of Minnesota Cancer Center researchers have found that morphine, which is routinely given to cancer patients to manage severe pain, actually stimulates signals in endothelial cells that in turn prompt tumors to grow in mice. The study will be published in the Aug. 1 issue of Cancer Research. Kalpna Gupta, Ph.D., assistant professor in the hematology, oncology and transplantation division of the universitys department of medicine and lead author of the study, found that doses of morphine similar to doses given to cancer patients activate the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway in human endothelial cells (cells that form blood vessels). MAPK plays a key role in promoting endothelial cell multiplication and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels). Angiogenesis can cause tumor growth by providing nutrients to growing tumors and by transporting cancer cells from a tumor to other parts of the body. Gupta notes that morphine did not promote initial or early growth of tumors in this study.
The researchers also found that morphine promotes endothelial cell survival by activating Akt, the key survival-signaling pathway inside these cells. Endothelial cell survival is crucial to the process of angiogenesis. This study demonstrates for the first time that morphine-induced effects on blood vessel cells can lead to angiogenesis-dependent tumor growth in mice.
"Despite the widespread use of morphine to treat pain in many medical conditions like cancer, little was known about how this drug affects blood vessels or cancer," says Gupta. "Our study shows that morphine stimulates the formation of new blood vessels inside the tumor, which in turn allows increased growth of tumors in mice." Gupta cautions that there is currently no scientific data that indicates morphine or similar pain medications will lead to increased growth of cancers in humans.
According to Gupta, these findings could lead to the development of new treatments to manage cancer pain. For example, understanding the activity of opioids like morphine in angiogenesis may lead to new drugs that selectively relieve pain without stimulating angiogenesis. The researchers said that their findings call for further investigation of the role of morphine and similar opioid drugs in tumor growth in patients.
Deane Morrison | EurekAlert
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy