Scientists report that a protein made in excess in the majority of human tumors plays a significant role in the ability of cancer cells to resist traditional treatments. The research study, published in the February issue of Cancer Cell, provides new insight into the biology of cancer cells and may have a significant impact in the design of future, more effective cancer treatments.
Tumor formation results when cells divide in an unregulated fashion and many chemotherapeutic agents are thought to work by inducing apoptosis, a complex process of cell death, to halt proliferation of malignant cells. It is known that most cancer cells do not undergo apoptosis under many stress conditions that would trigger apoptosis in healthy cells, including chemotherapeutic treatments. However, the details of the biology underlying drug action and why some cancers are drug resistant are not well understood. A research team led by Dr. Donald Kufe from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts examined the role of a protein called MUC1 in drug resistance in cancer cells. The level of MUC1 is substantially elevated in most human tumors. Normal levels of MUC1 are thought to play a role in cell repair after damage, inhibiting cell death and promoting generation of new cells. The researchers found that high levels of MUC1 protein, as is found in cancer, reduces traditional apoptosis signals, blocks the apoptotic response to toxic anticancer agents and confers resistance to treatment in animal tumor models. Further, reduction of MUC1 in lung and breast cancer cells is associated with increased sensitivity of these cells to anticancer drugs.
The researchers conclude that abnormal overabundance of MUC1 in human tumors promotes cancer cell survival, even in the presence of agents that normally induce cancer cell death. "We believe that our findings will lead to a better fundamental understanding of cancer biology and treatment. We have uncovered a mechanism in which what appears to be a normal physiological mechanism to protect healthy cells against apoptosis during stress-induced repair could be exploited by human tumors to survive under adverse conditions. In addition, because MUC1 reduces the normal apoptotic response to DNA damaging agents, it is an attractive target for design of future cancer therapeutics," explains Dr. Kufe.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences