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 Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials
16.01.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication
12.01.2018 | Duke University

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Novel 3-D printing technique yields high-performance composites

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations

16.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Fast-tracking T cell therapies with immune-mimicking biomaterials

16.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>