Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Rochester scientists test new method to attack cancer

15.07.2003


Scientists have used a technique called RNA interference to impair cancer cells’ ability to produce a key enzyme called telomerase. The enzyme, present in most major types of cancer cells, gives cells the lethal ability to divide rampantly without dying. The laboratory experiments create an opportunity for researchers who are focusing on telomerase in a bid to develop a drug like none ever developed - one capable of killing 85 percent of cancers



The research, led by Peter T. Rowley, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center, is being presented today at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

The enzyme telomerase produces telomeres, located at the ends of each chromosome, which protect the ends of chromosomes as cells divide. In a normal cell, the telomeres shorten each time the cell divides. After a cell divides 50 to 100 times, the telomeres shorten so much that they can no longer protect the chromosome, and the cell eventually dies.


Scientists believe that such cell death is normal, even healthy. But as a healthy cell turns cancerous, a genetic mutation triggers the production of telomerase, which restores the telomeres to normal length. The restored telomeres enable the cell to divide, unchecked, thousands of times instead of the usual 50 to 100. Over time, a few cancer cells can multiply into a golf-ball-sized tumor or spread to other parts of the body.

Since researchers discovered the important role telomerase plays in most cancers in the mid-1990s, much attention has been focused on finding a way to attack them. Several methods are in various stages of development.

The University of Rochester team used RNA interference to disrupt the production of telomerase in various cancer cells including colon, skin, cervical, and lung cancer. They crafted tiny snippets of double-stranded RNA, tailored to seek out the chemical message in the cell that conveys the instructions for making telomerase. Those snippets attracted enzymes and, together, they sought out and destroyed the cells’ chemical messages for making telomerase.

The technique reduced – but didn’t fully block – the production of telomerase. But with the cells’ supply of telomerase decreased, the telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes began to shorten. Over 75 days, the telomeres were shortened by as much as 85 percent. Rowley believes that if the experiment had been continued, the telomeres would have been shortened so much that all the cancer cells in the experiment would have died.

"If we can develop a therapy that prevents cancer cells from making telomerase, we may have a therapy that is effective against most cancers," said Rowley. "There are several hurdles we have to overcome before we can bring such a therapy to patients. Nonetheless, telomerase appears to be the most promising target we have in the search for an agent that is broadly effective against most forms of cancer."

Among the hurdles Rowley and other researchers are addressing is the possibility that RNA injected into the body could be broken down by enzymes before it reaches a patient’s cancer cells. Rowley plans a new series of experiments in mice to explore that possibility and devise a strategy to overcome it.


The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Leukemia Research Association, and the Elsa U. Pardee Foundation.

Christopher DiFrancesco | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

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...

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

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>