Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New High-Tech Approach Identifies Two Proteins Involved in Lung Cancer

08.04.2003


Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have devised an advanced technique that uses mass spectrometry to identify specific proteins that are over-expressed in cancer cells, blood, urine, or any substance that contains proteins.



Using this new technique, they have already identified two proteins – MIF and CyP-A -- whose levels are elevated in lung cancer cells but not in normal cells, said Edward Patz, M.D., professor of radiology and pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke.

Their discovery is one of the first steps toward elucidating potential new drug targets aimed at blocking the effects of these proteins. Scientists could also develop a simple blood test using MIF and CyP-A as molecular markers to diagnose lung cancer without the need for invasive biopsies.


Results of the study are published in the April 1, 2003, issue of Cancer Research.

"Our technique is a new paradigm for identifying protein targets in cancer because we are zeroing in on the protein itself rather than searching for a defective gene and then hunting down its relevant proteins," said Patz, lead author of the study

The new technique uses a sophisticated analytical instrument called a mass spectrometer, which electrically charges or "ionizes" proteins, then determines each particle’s precise mass and relative abundance in a particular sample. The Duke team has expanded the use of mass spectrometry to determine the identity of proteins -- the first time this technique has ever been used to "fingerprint" proteins in lung cancer.

In doing so, they have reversed the traditional order of research in which scientists first identify a defective gene, and then identify the disease-specific protein it produces. Locating a defective gene is important, but it is only the starting point in the discovery process, emphasized Patz. A single gene can produce many different proteins, only one of which may be the culprit in a particular disease process, he said. Identifying the protein puts scientists much closer to the intended target of therapy, said Patz.

"Finding a new approach that can pinpoint which proteins contribute to malignancy is critical because current approaches we use to diagnose and treat lung cancer have had no significant impact on lung cancer mortality over the last several decades," said Patz. Despite extensive efforts in genomics, drug discovery and lung cancer screenings, the overall five-year survival rate remains about 14 percent, he said.

The Duke team, including molecular biologist Michael Campa Ph.D., and mass spectrometry expert Michael Fitzgerald, Ph.D., used an instrument called a "matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometer" (MALDI-TOF) to electrically charge tumor particles. The instrument then determines each particle’s precise mass and hence its level or "expression" within tumors. The scientists then took the most significant protein "peaks" recorded by the instrument and purified the samples repeatedly until they were able to determine each protein’s unique amino acid structure or fingerprint.

The two proteins they identified in the lung cancer samples were MIF and CyP-A. MIF is known to be involved in non-small cell lung cancers, but CyP-A was not previously linked to lung cancer, and its exact functions in cancer are unknown. However, it may play a role in cellular growth and differentiation, transcription control, cell signaling and immunosuppression, all of which are important aspects of malignancy, said the researchers.

While the Duke team is not the first to observe significant protein peaks using MALDI-TOF, they are the first to actually identify which proteins they have observed and to begin analyzing the proteins’ functions within tumor cells.

"Scientists have generated protein peaks and used them to diagnose various diseases, but we have gone an extra step to discover what the protein is and to ultimately use that protein as a potential molecular target for therapy and diagnostics," said Patz. "It is useful to know that you have a marker for the disease, but it is far more useful to understand the biology of disease and use that knowledge to develop new strategies."

Even more exciting, said Patz, is that MALDI-TOF can be used to identify proteins in any substance, including blood, sputum, urine and tissue. The instrument can detect proteins of low molecular mass, acidic or basic proteins, and at concentrations much lower than other techniques are able to detect, thereby expanding the utility of MALDI-TOF to virtually any disease process.

Because of its sensitivity, Patz plans to use MALDI-TOF to develop a blood serum test to diagnose lung cancer in patients. Currently, patients with suspected lung cancers undergo multiple imaging studies using CT or PET, while others require a biopsy to analyze the tissue for malignancy. A simple blood test would spare patients from these procedures.

contact sources :
Dr. Edward Patz , 919-684-7311
patz0002@mc.duke.edu

Becky Levine | Duke University
Further information:
http://dukemednews.org/news/article.php?id=6487

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

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...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

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...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

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...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>