Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have made a key discovery that could help doctors treat one of the deadliest cancers.
A new study reveals a strategy used by pancreatic cancer cells to tinker with the immune system in a way that enables them to escape destruction by specialized immune cells.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and by The Irvington Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute, appears in the June 12 issue of Cancer Cell.
Pancreatic cancer is known for its aggressive nature. Only four percent of patients survive past five years from the time of diagnosis, and currently available therapies are largely ineffective.
"It is extremely important that we learn how the advancement of pancreatic cancer is being regulated in an effort to interrupt the progression of the disease," said senior author Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, senior vice president and vice dean for Science and chief scientific officer at NYU School of Medicine.
Using mouse models of pancreatic cancer, Dr. Bar-Sagi and colleagues found that a mutation of the KRAS gene, present in 95 percent of all pancreatic cancers, triggers the expression of a protein called GM-CSF. The tumor-derived GM-CSF then directs accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the area surrounding the tumor. These cells suppress the body's natural immune defense reaction to growing tumor cells. In this way, pancreatic cancer cells escape being seen by the body's immune system and are free to grow and divide. Establishment of an immunosuppressive environment around pancreatic cancer cells, therefore, prevents their prompt rejection by the immune system.
By blocking production of GM-CSF in pancreatic cancer cells, the researchers found that they were able to disrupt accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, liberating the tumor-killing immune response. "Our study suggests a therapeutic strategy for harnessing the anti-tumor potential of the immune system," Dr. Bar-Sagi explained.
"Our findings should be applicable to a significant proportion of human pancreatic cancer cases, as the vast majority of human pancreatic cancer samples that we tested express the GM-CSF protein prominently," Dr. Bar-Sagi added. The researchers are hopeful that their findings will open new doors in therapeutic research, eventually leading to new drug therapies that block the production or function of the GM-CSF protein to allow anti-tumor immune cells to attack the cancer cells and halt tumor development.
Although the study focuses on pancreatic cancer, KRAS mutations are prevalent in a number of other cancers, including colon and lung cancer. "From a research standpoint, the contribution of KRAS mutation to the production of GM-CSF is a very exciting find, as it may have important implications for the therapeutic management of other cancers, as well," Dr. Bar-Sagi said.
Co-authors on the study include first author Yuliya Pylayeva-Gupta, PhD, Kyoung Eun Lee, PhD, Cristina H. Hajdu, MD, and George Miller, MD, all of NYU School of Medicine.
About NYU School of Medicine:
NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence. For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital, one of the nation's finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City's diverse population, which enhances the scope and quality of their medical education and training. Additional information about the NYU School of Medicine is available at http://school.med.nyu.edu/.
Jessica Guenzel | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
20.08.2018 | Information Technology
20.08.2018 | Life Sciences
20.08.2018 | Information Technology