Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecule blocks gene, sheds light on liver cancer

03.08.2007
New research shows how a particular small molecule blocks the activity of a cancer-suppressing gene, allowing liver-cancer cells to grow and spread.

This molecule is a microRNA, a recently discovered class of tiny molecules used by cells to help control the kinds and amounts of proteins they make. More than 250 different microRNAs have been discovered, and several have been linked to cancer.

These findings show exactly how one specific microRNA, called miR-21, helps cancer develop.

This molecule occurs at unusually high levels in many kinds of cancer cells. The study looked at a gene called PTEN (pronounced P-TEN), which normally protects cells from becoming cancerous. Researchers know that the abnormal silencing of this tumor-suppressor gene contributes to the development of liver cancer and other malignancies.

The findings help explain how liver cancer develops and may identify new drug targets for treating the disease. This particular microRNA might also provide a marker to help determine a patient's prognosis.

The study, led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, is published in the August issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

“Our findings essentially describe a new mechanism used by cells to regulate PTEN,” says principal investigator Tushar Patel, professor of internal medicine, director of hepatology and a liver-cancer specialist at Ohio State University Medical Center.

They show that high levels of miR-21 block the PTEN gene, he explained. This, in turn, activates chemical pathways that enable cancer cells to proliferate, migrate and invade other tissues, all of which are features of tumor formation.

Patel and his collaborators began the study by measuring the relative levels of 197 microRNAs in normal liver cells and in liver cancer cells from human tumors and in four liver cancer cell lines.

Levels of miR-21 were up to nine times greater in liver-tumor tissue compared with normal liver tissue, twice that of the next highest microRNA.

Earlier research led by Patel had shown that miR-21 probably targeted PTEN, and this study confirmed that.

Furthermore, the researchers showed that adding high levels of miR-21 to normal liver cells caused PTEN levels to drop. They also traced the chemical pathways that increased the cells' abilities to proliferate, migrate and invade other tissues.

“Our findings indicate that miR-21 plays a fundamental role in tumor-cell behavior and cancer development,” Patel says, “and this may also be relevant to other tumors in which miR-21 is overexpressed. If this work is reproduced in investigations of other cancers, it could be a big step forward,” he says.

Funding from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Scott and White Hospital Foundation supported this research.

Eileen Scahill | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osumc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science 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: 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...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

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

Speed data for the brain’s navigation system

06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization

06.12.2016 | Life Sciences

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>