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 Custom-tailored strategy against glioblastomas
26.09.2016 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

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: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New switch decides between genome repair and death of cells

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Nanotechnology for energy materials: Electrodes like leaf veins

27.09.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

‘Missing link’ found in the development of bioelectronic medicines

27.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>