Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

PolyU scientist seeks to identify genes causing rare cancer

11.07.2013
Dr Vincent Keng Wee-keong of HKPolyU and international colleagues have developed a sophisticated model for studying "Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors" (MPNSTs), paving the way for further discovery of new genes and genetic pathways that may provide new therapeutic targets for related cancer treatment.

Working in collaboration with an international team of researchers, Dr Vincent Keng Wee-keong, Assistant Professor of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU)'s Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, has developed a sophisticated model for studying "Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors" (MPNSTs), thus paving the way for further discovery of new genes and genetic pathways that may provide new therapeutic targets for related cancer treatment.

MPNST is a rare but aggressive type of tumor that is associated with extremely poor prognosis. It is believed that many genetic changes are required for both sporadic and NF1-associated tumor development, although the exact cause of MPNSTs is still not yet known. MPNSTs can occur sporadically or in the context of neurofibromatosis type 1 (gene NF1) tumor syndrome, a disease that occurs approximately one in 3,000 people worldwide. Of great concern is that around 10 percent of these NF1 patients will develop MPNSTs.

Due to the invasiveness and high metastatic occurrence of MPNSTs, current treatment regimes such as surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic treatments have proven to be ineffective. The current five-year survival rate for patients with metastatic MPNST is less than 25 percent. "We desperately need more accurate models of the disease in order to cure it", Dr Vincent Keng said.

In order to identify genes leading to MPNSTs, Dr Keng has been collaborating with researchers from University of Minnesota, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and University of Florida in the US; and the Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer in Spain. The team has adopted The Sleeping Beauty transposon method, which is a powerful genetic tool and an unbiased approach, in a tissue-specific manner in mice.

Further analysis of these MPNSTs in this study uncovered 745 cancer candidate genes (both known and new genes). Genes and signaling pathways that cooperate in MPNST formation were also identified. In this study, the role of FOXR2 was demonstrated as an important oncogene or cancer-causing gene for MPNSTs development and turning off this gene drastically decreases the growth ability of these tumors. Researchers also found many of the MPNSTs have dual loss of NF1 and PTEN genes, both of which can suppress tumor formation.

Dr Vincent Keng has also previously shown that this pairing of lost genes causes MPNST formation in a paper published in Cancer Research last year. In his laboratory, research is continuing in both mouse models and human cell lines to obtain more effective therapeutic regimes for this deadly disease.

The MPNSTs research was published earlier this year in the international journal Nature Genetics (May 2013 Issue).

Press Contacts
Dr Vincent Keng Wee-keong
Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
Tel: (852) 3400 8728
Email: vincent.keng@polyu.edu.hk

Wilfred Lai | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland

nachricht Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

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 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...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

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

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

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>