Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pitt scientists study how cancer cells get out of control

07.01.2005


Research published in Science sheds light on cancer mechanisms, could lead to potential treatment approach

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have identified how a single aberrant cell can duplicate to form cancerous tumors, suggesting a specific protein mechanism as a target for the treatment of cancer, they report in a paper titled "Spindle Multipolarity Is Prevented by Centrosomal Clustering," published in the Jan. 7 issue of Science.

The team, led by William S. Saunders, associate professor of biological sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, found that overexpression of a single protein can cause changes in a cell associated with the formation of tumors. "Virtually all cancer cells acquire the ability to change their genomic structure," said Saunders. "Researchers in the field are looking for single events that can cause multiple mutational changes to the genome, and this research is an example of that."



Before a normal cell divides, its chromosomes are duplicated and then pulled apart by a structure called a spindle, so that the two daughter cells each will have the same number of chromosomes.

At the end of a normal spindle is the spindle pole, also called the centrosome, which pulls the chromosomes outward. Cancer cells often have extra centrosomes. When a cell has more than two centrosomes, sometimes--but not always--the spindles will have more than one pole and cell division won’t work correctly, leading to the swapping of genetic material, uncontrolled cell division, and the formation of tumors.

Why this doesn’t always happen when there are too many centrosomes was the focus of the Pitt researchers’ investigation. They found that as long as the extra centrosomes "cluster" together, the spindles will form normally, with two ends, and the cells will divide normally. "No one else appreciated that that was required, or what the mechanism was that separated them," said Saunders.

But when the extra centrosomes don’t cluster together, the spindles don’t form normally, and cell division can become unstable, reported Nicholas J. Quintyne, a postdoctoral fellow working with Saunders and first author of the paper.

Investigating the mechanism by which this occurs, the researchers found that in cultured oral cancer cells a protein called dynein is missing from the spindle, and the centrosomes no longer cluster together.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that in some types of tumors, dynein is inhibited by the overexpression of another protein called NuMA. Excess NuMA seems to prevent dynein from binding to the spindle. When they reduced the level of NuMA in cultured cancer cells, the dynein returned to the spindles, and the spindles were no longer multipolar.

"This finding suggests that a possible treatment for some types of cancer could be a drug that inhibits NuMA," noted coauthor Susanne M. Gollin, professor of human genetics in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health and coinvestigator at the Oral Cancer Center of Discovery at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

In the future, the researchers plan to look at other proteins that bind to NuMA and how these proteins interact in the process.

Karen Hoffmann | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upmc.edu
http://www.umc.pitt.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>