Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Metastasis of colon cancer cells reversed in vitro

06.01.2004


Weizmann Institute scientists have succeeded in reversing the metastatic properties of colon cancer cells, in vitro. The findings, published in the Nov. 24 issue of The Journal of Cell Biology, uncover a key process involved in the metastasis of colon cancer cells and raise hopes that target-specific drugs might be devised to prevent, or reverse, the invasive behavior of metastatic colon cancer cells. Colon cancer is the second most prevalent type of cancer in men and third in women in the Western world.



The researchers, headed by Prof. Avri Ben-Ze’ev of the Molecular Cell Biology Department, have confirmed that the invasive behavior of colon cancer cells results from the malfunction of adhesion-related ("cell-gluing") mechanisms.

Cells are held together by "adhesive molecules," including two key molecules called beta-catenin and E-cadherin, which are found near the surfaces of cells. Beta-catenin also has another function: when inside the nuclei of cells, it regulates the expression of genes. Beta-catenin is known to be involved in various cancers, including colon cancer, by aberrantly activating genes whose identity is mostly unclear. In previous research, Ben-Ze’ev’s team identified several such genes that are involved in the progression of human melanoma and colon cancer.


Now, the scientists have found that when a colon cancer cell becomes metastatic, abnormally large amounts of beta-catenin are found in its nucleus and, unexpectedly, they bring about a reduction in adhesion. The cell can thus break loose from the tissue and migrate to form another tumor at a distant site.

Beta-catenin in the nucleus does this by activating a gene called Slug. Slug inhibits the production of beta-catenin’s partner in cell adhesion, E-cadherin. The shortage of E-cadherin prevents the cell from adhering to adjacent cells. The cell takes on a boat-like shape and, leaving the pack, invades neighboring tissues until it enters the bloodstream. This migrating cancer cell can, in time, form a new tumor by entering distant tissue via the bloodstream and multiplying there.

Ben-Ze’ev’s team discovered that when such a colon cancer cell becomes surrounded by other such cells in a crowded environment (whether in the body or in the lab), minute quantities of E-cadherin in the cell recruit beta-catenin from the nucleus and can thus begin the process of binding together.

Lower levels of beta-catenin in the nucleus result in decreased Slug production (and increased E-cadherin production). As a result, the cells stick together and form a tissue-like organization – losing their metastatic properties. This is precisely the process that the scientists hope to be able to induce in patients to block metastasis.

"The fact that the invasive process in colon cancer can be reversed is surprising," says Ben-Ze’ev. "It offers hope of reversing the metastatic process or even preventing it in the future by designing a drug that targets Slug."

Prof. Avri Ben-Ze’ev’s research is supported by the M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research, the Yad Abraham Center for Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy, and the late Maria Zondek. Prof. Ben-Ze’ev is the incumbent of the Samuel Lunenfeld-Reuben Kunin Chair of Genetics.

Alex Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.weizmann.ac.il/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Research offers clues for improved influenza vaccine design
09.04.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Injecting gene cocktail into mouse pancreas leads to humanlike tumors
06.04.2018 | University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

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: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>