Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pancreatic cancer linked to errant reactivation of embryo cell pathway

24.06.2003


Research by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center specialists has uncovered a novel pathway in the origin of pancreatic cancers, one of the deadliest of malignancies. Their findings are reported in the June 23, 2003, issue of Cancer Cell.



Working with cancer cells from 55 patients, the Hopkins team found that a growth signal normally turned off in adult tissues is mistakenly turned back on after injury or inflammation of the pancreas. "We think reactivation may be a first step in initiating pancreatic cancer, well before the onset of any alterations to the pancreatic cells’ genetic material," says Steven D. Leach, M.D., Paul K. Neumann Professor in Pancreatic Cancer at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and director of the study.

The Notch pathway, when functioning normally, regulates embryonic development in a wide variety of organisms, ranging from fruit flies to humans. In adult tissues, the pathway becomes dormant as cells become differentiated to perform specialized functions. But, when the pancreas is injured or diseased, Notch signaling may be reactivated in the adult pancreas, resulting in conversion of adult pancreas cells to cells similar to those seen in embryonic pancreas. These primitive cells accumulate in the epithelium, or lining, of the pancreas, setting the stage for the additional genetic changes that lead to cancer. "Using drugs to deactivate the Notch pathway could prevent these cancer-causing events from occurring," says Leach.


When the researchers evaluated the pancreatic cancer samples at the genetic level, little to no activity of the Notch pathway was observed in normal pancreatic cells, while increased activity was seen in cancer cells and cells in the inflamed pancreas. In addition, the investigators found that when Notch signaling was blocked in test tube studies, they were able to prevent the early cellular changes leading to pancreatic cancer.

The investigators are now attempting to block Notch signaling in mouse models in hopes of developing a strategy for human pancreatic cancer prevention. "Curing pancreatic cancer is difficult. Few patients survive past five years. Preventing it may be the best path to pursue," says Leach.

Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates among all cancers. Each year, approximately 30,300 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, and nearly 30,000 die. Often unresponsive to conventional therapies, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death.

In addition to Leach, other investigators include Yoshiharu Miyamoto, Anirban Maitra, Bidyu Ghosh, Ulrich Zechner, Pedram Argani, Christine A. Iacobuzio-Donahue, Virote Sriuranpong, Tatsuya Iso, Ingrid M. Meszoely, Michael S. Wolfe, Ralph H. Hruban, Douglas W. Ball, and Roland M. Schmid.

Valerie Mehl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org
http://www.quad-net.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | 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: 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...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>