Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers identify a mechanism for the transformation of colon polyps

03.12.2012
Researchers from the University of Geneva demonstrate that, in this type of lesion, the rate of progression from a precancerous state to the tumor stage accelerates over time

The causes underlying the development of certain types of common cancers have not yet been elucidated. In order to better determine the origin and the sequence of events responsible for the onset of colon cancer, the teams led by Thanos Halazonetis and Stylianos Antonarakis, professors at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have sequenced the DNA of biopsied tissue from colon polyps.

The results show that these precancerous lesions have a specific profile called 'mutator', which is associated with an increased frequency of acquisition of certain mutations. The study, published December 1, 2012 in the journal Cancer Research, also designates mutations in three specific genes as being the likely initiators of the progression towards malignancy.

At each cell division, the entirety of our DNA, that is some 6.4 billion base pairs, must be replicated. The enzymes engaged in this task work at a prodigious rate of about 1000 base pairs per minute. This sometimes leads to errors, which are usually corrected by other enzymes. However, the repair mechanisms do not work when there is a defect in the DNA replication process, which is the case for cancer cells.

The genome of human cancer cells is generally unstable. The different forms and causes of this characteristic, which results in a greater susceptibility to acquire mutations, are not all known. "In order to explore the genesis and better understand the sequence of events leading to tumor development, we probed the DNA of precancerous lesions," explains Thanos Halazonetis, Professor at the Departments of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of the UNIGE's Faculty of Science. To do this, the team led by the professor sequenced the exome, which is the part of DNA that codes for proteins, from colon polyps sampled from patients. The researchers were thus able to pinpoint mutations in three specific genes, constituting the likely initial cause on the road to malignancy. "These genes, named APC, CTNNB1 and BRAF, all have a vital role in the cell. In particular, they are involved in cell division and adhesion to other cells, as well as various intracellular signaling pathways," explains Sergey Nikolaev, at the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development of the Faculty of Medecine, and first author of the article.

The researchers also compared the DNA of polyps, which most were precancerous, to that of healthy colon tissue. They discovered in the former an abnormally high frequency of mutations called SNS, characterized by the substitution of a single DNA base by another. "These precancerous lesions have a profile called 'mutator' which is associated with an increase in the frequency of acquiring SNS type mutations. During early development of the polyp, the mutation rate in these cells is normal, and then it accelerates over time," says Thanos Halazonetis.

The mutation rate observed in polyps was sometimes 200 times greater than that present in normal cells, which greatly increases their progression towards a cancerous stage. According to the professor, these polyps become cancerous in five to ten years. Thanks to these findings, recommendations for routine biopsies, usually conducted every five years, could henceforth be refined on a case to case basis.

Thanos Halazonetis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unige.ch

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>