Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene may hold key to future cancer hope

09.10.2007
Scientists may have discovered a new way of killing tumours in what they hope could one day lead to alternative forms of cancer treatments.

The University of Manchester research has identified a key gene that appears to play a critical role in the normal process of cell division.

Cells divide creating new cells as part of the body’s natural growth, renewal and healing processes but cancer results when cells divide in an uncontrolled way.

What the Manchester team has discovered is that a protein in our cells called ‘Bub 1’ is essential for normal cell division to take place; if the gene that generates Bub 1 is ‘switched off’ then the cells are unable to divide successfully.

“Bub 1 is an enzyme that controls several processes required for cell division to occur,” said Dr Stephen Taylor, who led the research in the Faculty of Life Sciences.

“We have shown that mouse embryos lacking the Bub 1 gene are unable to develop. Older cell types also failed to divide when the gene is switched off, while male mice lacking Bub 1 became infertile as their sperm cells died.”

In fact, deactivating Bub 1 had such a profound effect on cell division at all stages of a cell’s life – known as the ‘cell cycle’ – that the team is hopeful it will have a similar effect on cancer cells.

“Before cells can divide they have to duplicate and then distribute their genetic material so that the two ‘daughter’ cells receive all the genetic information for further growth and development,” said Dr Taylor, whose work is funded by the charity Cancer Research UK.

“The distribution phase has to be done with a high degree of accuracy – just one chromosome segregated incorrectly, for instance, leads to Down’s syndrome – so the cell has a surveillance mechanism which acts as a brake to delay chromosome segregation until accuracy has been guaranteed.”

An important part of this intricate surveillance system is Bub 1. The team found that when the gene is switched off the surveillance mechanism fails and accuracy is lost, resulting in cell death.

Now that scientists understand the precise role of Bub 1 in normal cell division, as well as what goes wrong when the gene is missing, they plan to test their theory on cancer cells.

“Unlike some other genes that become mutated in cancer cells, the Bub 1 gene appears normal indicating that it behaves in exactly the same way in cancer cells as it does in healthy cells.

“If this is the case, then we can be confident that switching it off will stop cancer cells proliferating too. And while our normal cells don’t divide that often, cancer cells divide more frequently, so hopefully by targeting Bub1 we will selectively kill cancer cells.”

Equally exciting, says Dr Taylor, is the fact that drugs are already being developed that are able to block the actions of Bub 1-type enzymes, known as ‘protein kinases’; such kinase blockers or ‘inhibitors’ are already providing a whole new approach to tackling cancer and Bub1 inhibitors may be another weapon in the oncologist's arsenal.

The research, which began in 1999, is published in the journal Developmental Cell on Tuesday, October 9.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>