Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Target for new lung cancer therapy found in embryonic cell pathway

06.03.2003


New work by researchers in the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins may allow them to halt the smoking-induced cellular events that lead to 99 percent of all small cell lung cancers (SCLC). The research is reported in the March 5, 2003, issue of Nature.



The researchers found that a primitive cellular pathway, called Sonic Hedgehog (named for the cartoon character and spiky hairs it develops on fruit flies) stays turned on long after it should be turned off in some lung cancers.

"We believe chronic injury to the lungs by cigarette smoking re-activates genes in the Hedgehog pathway to repair cell damage in the lining of the lungs. The ongoing and regular assault to the lungs by cigarettes causes the usually dormant pathway to be stuck in activation mode making too many new cells, ultimately resulting in cancer," says Neil Watkins, Ph.D., research associate at the Kimmel Cancer Center and lead author of the study.


The Sonic Hedgehog pathway has been well studied for its role in the development of mammalian embryonic cells, and more recently, for its relationship to cancer. Now, Kimmel Cancer Center investigators are testing drugs on mice, including one called cyclopamine, that block the Hedgehog pathway. Human clinical trials are not planned at this time and may be three to four years away.

The scientists analyzed tissue samples and tumor cell lines from SCLC and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Of ten SCLC tissue samples studied, half showed activation of the Hedgehog pathway and increased expression of one of its targets called the Gli1 gene. They confirmed these findings by looking at SCLC cell lines in which five of seven lines examined showed similar activation of the Hedgehog pathway and Gli1 gene. Limited activation of the pathway was found in NSCLC.

"This study represents one of the first attempts to therapeutically manipulate this cell pathway, and it’s a perfect example of how basic developmental science can have clinical implications in a relatively short period of time," says Stephen B. Baylin, M.D., Ludwig professor of oncology and director of research at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer. Close to 172,000 cases are diagnosed each year. Unresponsive to standard therapy, SCLC is the most lethal form of lung cancer. It typically cannot be treated with surgery and though it initially responds to chemotherapy, most patients relapse. "As cigarette smoking persists among young people, we expect to be dealing with this disease for years to come. As a result, the search for potential new therapies are key to controlling this disease," says Watkins.

In addition to Watkins and Baylin, other Johns Hopkins participants in this research include David Berman, Scott G. Burkholder, Baolin Wang, and Philip Beachy.



The research was funded by the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and a National Cancer Institute lung cancer SPORE (Specialized Projects of Research Excellence).

Under a licensing agreement between the Johns Hopkins University and Curis, Inc., Dr. Beachy is entitled to a share of royalty received by the University from sales of products related to the research described in this press release. The University and Dr. Beachy own Curis, Inc. stock, the sale of which is subject to certain restrictions. The terms of this arrangement are being managed by the University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

Media Contact: Vanessa Wasta 410-955-1287
Email: wastava@jhmi.edu

Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hopkinskimmelcancercenter.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller 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: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>