Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Killing the Unkillable Cancer Cells

04.06.2019

We all know someone affected by the battle against cancer. And we know that treatments can be quite efficient at shrinking the tumor but too often, they can’t kill all the cells, and so it may come back. With some aggressive types of cancer, the problem is so great that there is very little that can be done for the patients.

Why do some cancer cells evade therapy?


PD Dr. Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis, PhD (l.) and Dr. Steven W. Poser (r.), TU Dresden

TUD, Konrad Kästner

To understand this problem, we need to “look” at the molecular machinery inside the cancer cells that regulates their ability to grow, stay alive, and divide, producing more cells.

Scientists have identified many mechanisms within this machinery and they have designed drugs and other treatments that interfere with them, blocking their ability to divide, or even killing them.

Clearly, these treatments are not able to kill all the cells within a tumor. This must mean that some cancer cells can use alternative mechanisms which are not affected by current treatments. In this way, they evade therapy and regenerate the tumor, leading to recurrence.

The lab of Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis at the Department of Internal Medicine III (MK3) at the Technische Universität Dresden, in Germany had previously discovered a new molecular mechanism that regulates regeneration of various tissues after injury. They named it “The STAT3-Ser/Hes3 Signaling Axis”, after two of its key components and they demonstrated that it is very important in activating stem cells that live within our tissues so that they may help the tissue regenerate in models of Parkinson’s disease, ischemic stroke, multiple sclerosis, and types 1 and 2 diabetes. They posited that the same mechanism could be hijacked by some cancer cells (perhaps the elusive cancer stem cells) as a means of evading current therapies and regenerating the tumor.

Research Fellow Steve Poser and colleagues set to test the idea using cells from multiple patients with aggressive brain cancer. They demonstrated that, indeed, these cells can switch over from using the more established molecular mechanisms to using this new mechanism. Depending on which mechanism they were using, they were vulnerable to different treatments.

The team established an international and interdisciplinary collaborative project to characterize this new cancer cell state in terms of what genes are turned on and off, what mechanical properties are affected (these are important in metastasis because they regulate how cells move and spread within the tissue), and to find treatments that kill the cells specifically when this new molecular mechanism is in use.

In this way, they could block this escape route of the cancer cells. The findings are published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB J; https://www.fasebj.org/doi/10.1096/fj.201802603RR).

They identified several treatments that kill the cancer cells when they operate this new mechanism. In fact, several treatments are so specific that they kill the cells only when they operate the new mechanism and have minimal effects when they operate the more established, classical cancer growth mechanisms. Many of the treatments are currently approved for use in different indications (not cancer) and so they could potentially be repurposed in oncology.

Other treatments, such as the direct targeting of the gene Hes3 by RNA interference methods, would be new to man. To expedite the possibility to bring these new potential therapies to the clinic, the Technische Universität Dresden, with the support of the transCampus Initiative (a formal collaboration between the Technische Universität Dresden, in Germany and King’s College, London, UK) and the transCellerator, has formed a spinoff venture, Innate Repair.

Whereas the initial focus is on aggressive brain cancer, there already is ample evidence that the same mechanism operates in many additional types of cancer. The work provides a new logic and method to identify treatments that kill these hard-to-kill cancer cells.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

PD Dr. Andreas Androutsellis-Theotokis, PhD
Technische Universität Dresden
University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden
Department of Internal Medicine III (MK3)
Tel.: +49 351 458 3207
Email: andreas.theotokis@uniklinkum-dresden.de

Originalpublikation:

„Controlling distinct signaling states in cultured cancer cells provides a new platform for drug discovery“, Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB J; https://www.fasebj.org/doi/10.1096/fj.201802603RR)

Kim-Astrid Magister | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: CANCER Cells Experimental Biology cancer cells molecular mechanism stem cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NTU Singapore scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using su
12.12.2019 | Nanyang Technological University

nachricht Eavesdropping on the human microbiome uncovers 'potent' new antibiotics
12.12.2019 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

Im Focus: Electronic map reveals 'rules of the road' in superconductor

Band structure map exposes iron selenide's enigmatic electronic signature

Using a clever technique that causes unruly crystals of iron selenide to snap into alignment, Rice University physicists have drawn a detailed map that reveals...

Im Focus: Developing a digital twin

University of Texas and MIT researchers create virtual UAVs that can predict vehicle health, enable autonomous decision-making

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Safer viruses for vaccine research and diagnosis

12.12.2019 | Health and Medicine

NTU Singapore scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using su

12.12.2019 | Life Sciences

Studies show integrated strategies work best for buffelgrass control

12.12.2019 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>