Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Research Institute Study Points to Potential New Therapies for Cancer and Other Diseases

28.11.2012
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TRSI) are fueling the future of cancer treatment by improving a powerful tool in disease defense: the body’s immune system. By revealing a novel but widespread cell signaling process, the scientists may have found a way to manipulate an important component of the immune system into more effectively fighting disease.

The study, recently published online ahead of print by the journal Blood, shows that disabling a particular enzyme, called ItpkB, in mice improves the function of a type of immune cell called Natural Killer cells.

“This is an exciting finding because it could possibly lead to the development of drugs that improve Natural Killer cell function,” said TSRI Associate Professor Karsten Sauer, PhD, who led the study. "Natural Killer cells have gained clinical interest as innovative biological therapeutics for certain cancers and also in certain infectious diseases.”

The Body’s ‘SWAT Team’

Natural Killer cells patrol the body and detect characteristic alterations on the surface of cancer cells or virus-infected cells. Through a complicated and little understood signaling machinery—a domino effect of molecular reactions in a cell that ultimately produces a certain signal—Natural Killer cells then destroy such ”stressed” cells.

Compared to other types of immune cells, Natural Killer cells kill these cells quickly. This makes Natural Killer cells important early responders of the immune system. Not surprisingly, researchers have explored engaging this "SWAT team" of the body therapeutically, particularly in blood cancers.

However, to date, the therapeutic efficacy of Natural Killer cells has been limited. “A key bottleneck is our limited understanding of signaling mechanisms that dampen Natural Killer cell function,” Sauer said.

Sauer and colleagues’ new research reveals crucial details of this puzzle.

A Way to Prime the Attack

The Sauer group had previously identified ItpkB as a key regulator of immune function. ItpkB acts primarily by producing IP4, a small molecule messenger that controls the functions of various other important signaling molecules. IP4 can improve or inhibit signaling depending on the cell type in which it is produced.
The new research showed that Natural Killer cells from mice lacking ItpkB show elevated signaling and function better than Natural Killer cells that have the enzyme. As a result, mice lacking ItpkB are more effective than mice expressing ItpkB in attacking cells that display characteristic surface changes of cancer cells.

“The enzyme ItpkB has unique features that facilitate its highly specific inhibition by small molecules,” said Sauer. "Our findings suggest that such compounds could possibly be used to improve Natural Killer cell function therapeutically. If successful, this could overcome a bottleneck and engage the body's SWAT team to fight cancer."

In addition to Sauer, Eugene Park of Washington University School of Medicine was a co-first author of the study, "Inositol Tetrakisphosphate Limits NK Cell Effector Functions by Controlling Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Signaling.” Other authors include Sabine Siegemund, Luise Sternberg and Stephanie Rigaud of TSRI and Anthony R. French, Joseph A. Wahle, A. Helena Jonsson, Wayne M. Yokoyama and co-corresponding author Yina H. Huang of Washington University School of Medicine. For more information, see http://bloodjournal.hematologylibrary.org/content/early/2012/11/20/blood-2012-05-429241.abstract.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI070845, GM088647, AI089805 and AI007606), The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award 1440-11 and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft fellowship SI 1547/1-1.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. Over the past decades, TSRI has developed a lengthy track record of major contributions to science and health, including laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. The institute employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.
For information:
Office of Communications
Tel: 858-784-8134
Fax: 858-784-8136
press@scripps.edu

Mika Ono | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy
25.07.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Chances to treat childhood dementia
24.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>