Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Johns Hopkins gene hunters pinpoint new cancer gene target

12.03.2004


Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have found mutations in a gene linked to the progression of colon and other cancers. The research findings, published online in the March 11 issue of Science, may lead to new therapies and diagnostic tests that target this gene.



The gene in which the mutations have been found, called PIK3CA, is part of a family of genes encoding lipid kinases, enzymes that modify fatty molecules and direct cells to grow, change shape and move. Although scientists have been studying the biochemical properties of this family of genes for more than a decade, until now, no study revealed that they were mutated in cancer.

Kinases have been the focus of recent drug development strategies, with some kinase-inhibiting compounds, such as Gleevec and Herceptin, already being used clinically to inhibit tumor growth.


"These findings open the door to developing specific therapies that may prove useful for the treatment of cancers with mutations in PIK3CA," says Victor Velculescu, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of oncology and senior author of the research.

In their current experiments, the scientists sequenced the molecular code of the genes in this lipid kinase family and found mistakes in the nucleotides, or DNA building blocks, in one particular gene, called PIK3CA. Each mistake is a result of one nucleotide being switched for another. PIK3CA mutations were found in 32 percent of colon cancer samples (74/234), as well as 27 percent (4/15) of glioblastomas, 25 percent (3/12) of gastric cancers, 8 percent (1/12) breast cancers and 4 percent (1/24) of lung cancers. By studying 76 additional premalignant colon tumors, the scientists found that PIK3CA mutations may occur at or near the time a tumor is about to invade other tissues.

The investigators demonstrated that the mutations increase PIK3CA kinase activity, which can start a cascade of cellular events that spark a normal cell to grow uncontrollably and become cancerous.

"We envision future cancer therapy as personalized, based on gene mutations in each patient’s tumor," says Velculescu. "This kind of information, gleaned from sequencing a patient’s tumor, means drugs could be targeted to just the right molecular pathway at just the right time and potentially be more effective with fewer side effects."

Most of the PIK3CA mutations described in the current paper are located in two DNA cancer "hot spots," thus making molecular diagnostic tests possibly easier to develop. "These mutations, added to a panel of existing markers for colon cancer developed in our laboratory, could help find cancers that would otherwise go undetected," says Yardena Samuels, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow and first author of the study.

The researchers are now looking more closely at the role of PIK3CA in tumor development and are working on identifying compounds that could target tumors with mutations in this gene.

This research was funded by the Ludwig Trust, the Benjamin Baker Scholarship Fund, the EMBO Fellowship Fund and grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Other participants of this research include Zhenghe Wang, Alberto Bardelli, Natalie Silliman, Janine Ptak, Steve Szabo, Gregory J. Riggins, Kenneth W. Kinzler and Bert Vogelstein of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Hai Yan of Duke University Medical Center; Adi Gazdar of UT Southwestern Medical Center; Steven M. Powell of the University of Virginia Health System; and James K.V. Willson and Sanford Markowitz of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Ireland Cancer Center, University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western University.

Vanessa Wasta | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>