Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breast cancer can be reversed in laboratory mice, scientists report

04.11.2003


Findings provide new molecular drug targets, validate transgenic mouse models



Breast cancer researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to block genetic switches in mice that turn cancer on and off — thus preventing and even reversing breast cancer in the animals. The findings, reported Sunday morning at the 24th Congress of the International Association for Breast Cancer Research, suggest potential new molecular targets for drugs to prevent and potentially eradicate breast cancer in humans.

“It’s enormously gratifying,” said conference director Robert Cardiff, professor of pathology at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center and an author of the research. “Our findings suggest paths forward that may help us alter the biological path of breast cancer and more successfully treat — and even potentially prevent — this cancer in humans.”


In new research reported by a team of scientists from Canada, Switzerland and UC Davis, investigators demonstrated that removing a single gene known as beta-1 integrin prevented or halted breast cancer growth in laboratory mice. Beta-1 integrin is a principal regulator of normal breast tissue growth and survival, but if the gene malfunctions, it can directly initiate breast tumors. The new work demonstrates that knocking out the beta-1 integrin gene prevents cancer-prone mice from developing breast tumors, and halts further tumor growth in mice that have already developed breast cancer.

“This study shows that it is absolutely essential to have the beta-1 integrin gene present in order for mammary gland tumors to develop. We now have a good target for biological drug development, and the challenge is to develop an agent that can block its activity,” said William J. Muller, professor of biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal and a lead investigator of the study.

In a related presentation, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania reported on a series of experiments using a novel mouse model of human breast cancer, one that enables scientists to turn oncogenes — genes that can cause cancer — on or off at will. A triggering agent, in this case the antibiotic doxycycline, throws the switch on or off. Scientists used the approach to test four oncogenes: c-myc, Neu, Wnt1, and v-Ha-Ras. When any one of the oncogenes was turned on, the transgenic mice developed extremely aggressive mammary tumors; in many cases, the tumors metastasized to the lungs. When the gene was turned off, many of the breast tumors — including many of the most aggressive and advanced cancers — regressed to the point that they no longer could be detected by physical examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

“We’re extremely encouraged that we have been able to demonstrate in laboratory animals that we can make mammary cancers essentially disappear by reversing just one mutation,” said Lewis A. Chodosh, associate professor at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study.
“This suggests that, with appropriate therapies that target the genes used in this study, we might be able to cause tumors to regress and improve substantially, even those that are quite advanced.”

However, even though many of the tumors in the transgenic mice went into complete remission, a substantial number of the cancers spontaneously recurred over periods of up to a year, Chodosh reported.

This finding is important since it replicates the natural history of human breast cancer — many women, after apparently successful treatment, harbor residual tumor cells that eventually give rise to tumor recurrences that ultimately may result in death. Some of these residual cells can remain for decades. No previous laboratory mouse model has successfully replicated this feature of human breast cancer cells.

“The next critical step is to figure out the mechanisms that some tumors use to escape these treatments,” Chodosh said. “We believe these mouse models will help us to do exactly that.”

Founded in the mid 1950s, the International Association for Breast Cancer Research is an international community of scientists focused on the important issues in modern breast cancer research. The 24th IABCR Congress, focused on preclinical research using mouse models of human breast cancer, is sponsored by UC Davis Cancer Center, the Office of Women’s Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the California Breast Cancer Research Program, and the National Cancer Institute’s Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium and Specialized Programs of Research Excellence.

Claudia Morain | UC Davis Health System
Further information:
http://cme.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/iabcr.htm
http://news.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
http://cme.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/Confrnce/IABCR/reversed.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>