Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tadpoles and tumors

29.03.2004


A protein critical in tadpole metamorphosis has role in human cancer



There’s something magical about tadpoles. The mere mention of this little creature sparks happy memories of children screaming with delight as they splash in a shallow stream trying to capture some of the tiny swimmers in a cup. The real magic happens as the children witness the metamorphosis from tadpole to frog.

Within the mystery of this transformation is a biological series of changes that among other things, allows one appendage to be shed while four others sprout from the tadpole’s body. Before a tadpole becomes a frog, it must lose its tail. A time-lapse video of this process would actually reveal that the tadpole tail doesn’t simply fall off but rather grows shorter in a process called tail resorption.


Scientists who study this process on a molecular level have known that a protein called FAP (fibroblast activation protein) is involved in tail resorption. However, FAP may have a much more perverse role in humans.

"We know that FAP helps control the breakdown of the extracellular matrix that allows tadpole tail resorption, and we believe that the same type of activity has to happen for tumor growth," said Jonathan D. Cheng, M.D., a medical oncologist and researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "We are currently investigating how the two may be related biologically.

"Animal studies have shown that producing lots of FAP in the tumor’s microenvironment makes the cancer grow faster. We are now learning more about how FAP does that."

In a study presented today at the 95th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, Fla., Cheng and his colleagues demonstrate that the enzymatic activity of FAP is responsible for the accelerated tumor growth in mice. Cheng’s research also examines the ability of an antibody molecule to stop the enzymatic activity of FAP.

"We know that FAP is present in about 90 percent of human solid malignancies, so that makes this protein a target well worth pursuing," Cheng said. "Antibodies have an inherent advantage in that they can specifically target FAP and not other proteins. Although the antibody we have studied so far has had only modest results to date, we are making some modifications to our existing antibodies to improve the molecule’s ability to block FAP’s action. Much more research lies ahead."


Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation’s first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic, clinical, population and translational research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center’s web site at http://www.fccc.edu or call 1-888-FOX CHASE.

Karen Carter Mallet | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fccc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

A huge hydrogen generator at the Earth's core-mantle boundary

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists find why CP El Niño is harder to predict than EP El Niño

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>