Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Circadian clock genes may provide targets for new cancer drugs


Critical innovations and new knowledge are now emerging from the laboratories of universities, medical centers and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, offering the prospect of a new generation of drugs capable of destroying cancer cells with pinpoint accuracy, without damaging adjacent normal cells.

Each year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), jointly with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), brings together scientists and other professionals from around the world seeking to share the latest information in this field, otherwise known as molecular targets of cancer.

More than 2,500 scientists and clinicians – including top executives and researchers from more than 300 pharmaceutical and biotech companies – are gathering in Boston next week at the annual AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics to present, discuss and hear about such promising discoveries as:

• The Circadian Rhythm of Cells, in which the “clock genes” that coordinate many fundamental cell functions operate according to a diurnal schedule. Researchers have hypothesized that cancer often occurs when the timing of circadian clock genes is “off,” resulting in an imbalance between cell proliferation and cell death. They believe these genes and their products represent novel targets for the control of cancer growth.

• Turning Tumors Against Themselves, by transforming the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) from a promoter of angiogenic growth and survival to a cancer killer. One study shows that binding VEGF to the Fas apoptosis receptor, creating VEGFR2Fas, triggers the signal for cell death. Further investigation will seek to optimize this effect and determine the feasibility of using it in vivo to kill tumor cells and/or the blood vessels that fuel them directly.

• Improving the Effectiveness of Radiotherapy for some types of head and neck cancer by examining the biological profiles of different tumors, which affect their responsiveness to radiotherapy. Scientists hope eventually to be able to tailor cancer therapy specifically to the biological behavior of an individual patient’s tumor.

“This is the foremost annual meeting in drug development, coming at one of the most exciting times in the history of cancer research,” said AACR President Karen S. H. Antman, M.D., Wu Professor of Medicine and Professor of Pharmacology, Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York.

“We have developed a number of new anti-cancer agents and identified potential targets. This meeting brings together everyone in the field to talk about strategies for evaluating these findings and taking them efficiently to the next step – to patients in clinical trials,” she added.

Meeting Scientific Chairman Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., Investigator and Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, echoed the objective, saying:

“We are at a time in cancer research, both basic and clinical, when we understand some of the molecular lesions that drive cancer. We have a nice set of drug-like molecules either available or in development, but there is a disconnect between work in the laboratory and testing in patients. Right now the molecular profile of cancer is hard to recognize in patients, because it is not part of clinical trials nor the way cancer is classified. We need a consensus of opinion to bridge the gap between the lab and the patient.”

Target selection and barriers to the clinical testing of targeted agents will be debated by academic and pharmaceutical company scientists and federal regulators at two forums during the meeting.

Leroy E. Hood, Co-founder and President of the Institute for Systems Biology and Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, both in Seattle, will give a keynote address on “Systems Biology and Cancer.” Dr. Hood is recognized as one of the world’s leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics, and has applied his laboratory expertise in DNA sequencing to the analysis of human and mouse immune receptors, and initiated studies in prostate cancer, autoimmunity, and hematopoietic stem cell development.

Alex Matter of Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, Switzerland, will offer the second keynote speech, “The Reality of Making Cancer Drugs.” Dr. Matter and his team of 300 scientists were among the leaders in the discovery of Gleevec, the first oral drug shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

For 20 years prior to 1999, NCI and EORTC held the conferences on cancer therapeutics biennially. Since then they have been held annually in conjunction with AACR, alternating venues between the United States and Europe. Next year’s meeting will be Sept. 28-Oct. 1, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is a professional society of more than 21,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical scientists engaged in cancer research in the United States and in more than 60 other countries. AACR’s mission is to accelerate the prevention and cure of cancer through research, education, communication, and advocacy. This work is carried out through five major peer-reviewed scientific journals and high-quality scientific programs focusing on the latest developments in all areas of cancer research.

The National Cancer Institute, founded in 1971, is the principal United States government agency charged with coordinating the National Cancer Program. It facilitates international cooperation in clinical trials involving U.S. and foreign collaborating institutions.

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer was organized in 1962 to conduct, develop, coordinate and stimulate laboratory and clinical research in Europe, and to improve the management of cancer and related problems by increasing the survival and quality of life for patients.

Warren Froelich | AACS
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

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: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>