Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wound-healing genes influence cancer progression, say Stanford researchers

13.01.2004


Genes that help wounds heal are most often the "good guys," but a new study paints them as the enemy in some types of cancer. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that some tumors activate these wound-healing genes and, when they do, the tumors are more likely to spread. This work could help highlight new ways to treat the disease along with helping doctors decide which cancers to approach more aggressively.



"This is a feature we can find early on in the disease and it could change the way cancer is treated," said Howard Chang, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar and lead author of the paper. The work appears in the Jan. 19 edition of Public Library of Science Biology.

The research group, led by Patrick Brown, MD, PhD, professor of biochemistry, took an unusual approach in finding the telltale genes. In most studies, scientists analyze tumor samples and look for genes that are more active compared to normal tissue. Such studies have produced long lists of genes involved in cancer biology but don’t provide clues about what role those genes may be playing.


Chang started from the opposite direction. He knew wound healing and cancer progression had some similarities, including the growth of new blood vessels, rearrangement of the molecular matrix around the cells and changes in how cells attach to each other. "Wound healing is a process that allows cells to break normal constraints on their growth and cross boundaries. If a cell can access that program, that’s a good environment for cancer," Chang said.

The researchers started by finding which genes are active in cells exposed to clotted blood as a model of cells in the wound-healing process. Then Chang and his colleagues looked to see whether those same genes were active in tumor samples.

The researchers found that prostate and liver cancers always activated wound-healing genes, while tumors in the breast, colon and prostate were mixed. In these variable tissues, tumors with active wound-healing genes turned out to be highly aggressive and were more likely to spread to other tissues.

Chang said assessing wound-healing genes could help doctors choose the best treatment for a patient. "There are a lot of drugs that work only on certain type of cancers. If you realize that different drugs work on a specific abnormality, doctors can match the drug to the problem," he said.

The best-known example of such pharmaceutical matchmaking is the drug Herceptin, which specifically treats breast cancers with an active version of the gene Her2/Neu.

Most doctors don’t have the ability to screen tumor samples for active genes, but they routinely test for the presence of proteins made by genes, as with Her2/Neu. Julie Sneddon, a biochemistry graduate student and second author on the paper, has been working on a similar test to identify tumors that churn out wound-healing proteins.

Chang said the next step is learning how best to treat tumors that produce these proteins. Because wound healing is a well-understood process, researchers may be able to disrupt the process and slow the cancer’s spread. "There are drugs coming out that block blood vessel growth, so perhaps those drugs should be targeted to this population of patients," Chang said.

Additional Stanford researchers who contributed to this work include postdoctoral scholars Ruchira Sood, PhD, and Jen-Tsan Chi, MD, PhD; Ash Alizadeh, MD, PhD, a former graduate student; Rob West, MD, PhD, clinical instructor of pathology; Kelli Montgomery, research associate; and Matt van de Rijn, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology.


Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, please visit the Web site of the medical center’s Office of Communication & Public Affairs at http://mednews.stanford.edu.

Broadcast media contact: M.A. Malone at 650-723-6912 (mamalone@stanford.edu)

Amy Adams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://med-www.stanford.edu/MedCenter/MedSchool/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

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

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>