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 Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>