Dr Robert Clarke and his team at the University's Cancer Studies research group have been investigating human breast cancers for the presence of stem cells - cells that generate new tumours and can cause the cancer to recur - in a series of studies funded by the charity Breast Cancer Campaign.
One third of women who are successfully treated for breast cancer find that the disease recurs some years later because some of these cancer cells survive the treatment and begin to grow again.
The team's research into these `breast cancer stem cells' revealed that the cells are stimulated by the Notch gene. The team, who published the study in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is now hoping to develop new drug therapies to target this gene and thus stop the growth of any surviving breast cancer stem cells.
One drug that is known to attack Notch is already used for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease so, having undergone health and safety checks, its clinical trial for use on breast cancer patients could be speeded up and lead to a treatment in hospital clinics within a few years. Herceptin, by contrast, took more than 15 years to go from the discovery of its gene target to treatment.
The team is also aiming to identify other new pathways of controlling breast cancer stem cells by using a genetic library to shut down other genes at random to see how it affects them, in a study with Rene Bernards at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.
The team, along with Professor Tony Whetton, are using a state-of-the-art mass-spectrometry based proteomics facility at the Paterson Institute of Cancer Research to identify proteins that control breast cancer stem cells. The facility - one of only a few in the UK - enables them to break up breast cancer stem cell proteins and analyse the sequence of amino acids to identify novel proteins that control the cells' growth.
Dr Clarke says: "Our work has revealed the importance of several pathways not previously known to regulate stem cell survival and self-renewal, which is tremendously exciting. Inhibitors of signalling pathways that regulate cancer stem cells could represent a new therapeutic modality in breast cancer, to be used in combination with current treatments in the near future."
Jon Keighren | alfa
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
22.03.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences