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 Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's fermi finds possible dark matter ties in andromeda galaxy

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Wintering ducks connect isolated wetlands by dispersing plant seeds

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>