Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Finding the Achilles heel of cancer

28.03.2018

A research team led by Monica Bettencourt Dias, from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia (IGC, Portugal), discovered important features of cancer cells that may help clinicians fighting cancer.

The researchers observed that the number and size of tiny structures that exist inside cells, called centrioles, are increased in the most aggressive sub-types of cancer. This study will be published in Nature Communications* on the 28th of March.


Healthy cells (left image) display four centrioles, a normal number (in yellow). On the contrary, breast cancer cells (triple negative) have extra centrioles (here 16, right image).

Credit: Gaëlle Marteil, IGC.

Cancer is a very diverse disease with some tumours being more aggressive and more resistant to chemotherapy than others. Clinicians are eager to find novel diagnostic, prognostic and treatment tools that allow them to predict outcomes and treat patients in a more personalised way. The study now published may contribute to this process.

About 100 times smaller than the cross section of a hair, centrioles have been called the cell´s "brain", as they play crucial roles in cell multiplication, movement and communication. Their number and size are highly controlled in normal cells. Since their discovery, more than one century ago, it has been proposed that an abnormal increase in the number of these structures may induce cancer..

Bettencourt-Dias's team investigated the incidence of centriole abnormalities in human cancer cells. The researchers thoroughly analysed a panel of 60 human cancer lines originated from 9 distinct tissues. Their results reveal that cancer cells often have extra and longer centrioles, which are absent in normal cells.

Importantly, the research team observed that supernumerary centrioles are more prevalent in aggressive breast - as the triple negative - and colon cancer. Also, the team discovered that longer centrioles are excessively active, which perturbs cell division and could favour cancer formation.

"Our data confirm that deregulated number and size of centrioles inside cells is associated with malignant features. This finding may help establishing centriole properties as a way of classifying tumours in order to establish prognosis and predict treatment response", says Gaelle Marteil, first author of this study and researcher at Bettencourt-Dias laboratory.

What is the next step? "The cell lines that we analysed are already well characterized in terms of genetic changes and resistance to therapeutics. We are pursuing our studies in collaboration with Nuno Barbosa-Morais' team at Instituto de Medicina Molecular, in Lisbon, and Joana Paredes at I3S, in Porto, to explore new mechanisms and therapeutics that could target centrioles in cancer", adds Monica Bettencourt-Dias.

###

This study involved an international research team from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia, I3S- Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde (Portugal), IPATIMUP - Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia Molecular (Portugal), Instituto de Medicina Molecular (Portugal), Instituto Portugues de Oncologia (Portugal), and Dana-Faber Cancer Institute (USA). This work was funded by European Research Council (ERC), European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), Fundação para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal), and FCT- Harvard Medical School Program Portugal.

* Marteil, G., Guerrero, A., Vieira, A.F., de Almeida, B.P., Machado, P., Mendonça, S., Mesquita, M., Vilarreal, B., Fonseca, I., Francia, M.E., Dores, K., Martins, N.P., Jana, S.C., Tranfield, E.M., Barbosa-Morais, N.L., Paredes, J., Pellman, D., Godinho, S.A., Bettencourt-Dias, M. (2018) Over-elongation of Centrioles in Cancer Promotes Centriole Amplification and Chromosome Missegregation. Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03641-x.

Ana Mena | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Achilles CANCER cancer cells human cancer normal cells tumours

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University

nachricht Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data storage using individual molecules

Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.

Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences

New type of low-energy nanolaser that shines in all directions

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA research reveals Saturn is losing its rings at 'worst-case-scenario' rate

18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>