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!
NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
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...
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...
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...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences