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
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research