Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers map new path to colon cancer therapy

16.12.2008
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have identified a promising new target in the battle against colorectal cancer — a biochemical pathway critical to the spread of tumors to new locations in the body.

If this "survival pathway" can be successfully blocked under clinical conditions, the result would be a much-needed new therapy for colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

The researchers' findings, published online the week of December 15 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focus on an enzyme known as Akt2, which is often also found at high levels in association with prostate, ovarian, breast and pancreatic cancers.

Drawing on data from human colorectal cancer tissue samples, athymic "nude" mouse experiments and cell-culture studies and probing enzyme interactions with small interfering RNA, the scientists determined that Akt2 was critical to the survival of colorectal cancer cells in the late stages of the dangerous process of metastasis— the development of secondary tumors at a distance from a primary tumor. At the same time, they also mapped the enzyme's interactions with other important proteins involved in colorectal cancer metastasis, laying the groundwork for the development of new therapies to stop the cancer's spread.

"Metastasis is a really complicated process," said Dr. Piotr G. Rychahou, lead author of the paper and an instructor in the UTMB department of surgery. "Through a complex cascade of events, cancer cells escape from the original tumor and invade surrounding tissues until they reach a blood or lymphatic vessel. Next, they cross the wall of the vessel and enter the circulation in order to reach a target organ—again crossing through the vessel wall —and grow into secondary tumors that we actually detect in patients. To survive this hazardous solo journey, invade a foreign organ and proliferate there, cancer cells need support from intracellular survival pathways. Akt2 is part of the PI3-kinase / Akt pathway, one of the strongest pro-survival signaling pathways."

Rychahou and his colleagues, including senior author and director of the UTMB Sealy Center for Cancer Cell Biology Dr. B. Mark Evers, suspected from previous work that Akt2 was significant in colorectal cancer metastasis. To profile the enzyme's involvement in metastasis, they started at the end of the metastatic road: examining tumor samples from patients with metastatic colorectal cancer and confirming that high levels of the enzyme were present.

Next, they conducted a series of experiments with athymic "nude" mice (mice bred to lack an immune response), injecting them with different colorectal cancer cell lines and using custom-designed siRNA treatments to decrease and increase the activity of Akt2, its relative Akt1 and the tumor-suppressing protein PTEN.

"When we decreased the Akt2 expression, we found there was really a significant difference," Rychahou said. "Akt2 is essential for the later stages of colon tumor metastasis, but we also found that increased Akt2 alone is not enough for the growth of secondary tumors. For that, you need continuous PI3-kinase pathway stimulation and activation which can occur with absence of PTEN in these tumors."

Discoveries such as these, according to Evers, are "crucial to providing more directed therapies for the treatment of colorectal cancer metastasis based upon inhibition of specific components of the PI3-kinase pathway, thus allowing for a more personalized treatment regimen with potentially fewer side effects"

Marsha Canright | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utmb.edu

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

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

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>