Mayo Clinic Cancer Center leads the field in researching the impact and effect of SULF1, a protein whose normal role is to degrade heparin sulfate proteoglycans -- molecules that are part sugar and part protein. Mayo scientists have found that the protein also helps inhibit tumor growth. Now, Mayo researchers are studying a related gene, SULF2.
The role of the SULF2 gene and protein has not been fully defined, but in this study, researchers investigated the effect of SULF2 on liver tumor growth in the laboratory. They found that increased expression of SULF2 enhances cancer cell growth and migration, whereas decreased expression reduces both.
“The liver is designed to excrete toxins, and its tumors are no exception,” says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Lewis Roberts, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., the study’s primary investigator. “Our problem is that the tumors tend to excrete chemotherapeutic agents rather than be affected by them. So we are looking for ways to get around that.”
The researchers sought answers by examining a protein related to one they already knew had a role in suppressing liver tumors. SULF1 and SULF2 are similar proteins, but cause opposing results. SULF1 removes sulfate groups that allow growth factors to bind to cells, thus inhibiting growth. The investigators found that SULF2 did the opposite -- it increased binding of a specific growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2), to tumor cells, and also increased expression of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan glypican 3 (GPC3), which plays an important role in cell division and growth. These findings were confirmed in mouse models.
This discovery indicates if scientists can decrease the levels or activity of SULF2 in a tumor, they might be able to stop its development. Mayo researchers are exploring use of an agent that mimics heparin and inhibits SULF2. They are also examining whether preventing heparin sulfate synthesis would inhibit tumor growth.
“If something has a very broad effect on signaling by growth factors, it may lead to an effective treatment,” says Jinping Lai, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo oncology researcher and the lead author of the study. “SULF2 has a number of characteristics that make it an attractive target, such as the fact that it is widely present in tumors. We are exploring a number of options with SULF2 as a focal point for treatment not only in liver cancer, but also in head and neck, pancreas, breast and other types of cancer.”
The researchers hope to identify drugs that block SULF2, and seek to thoroughly understand the mechanisms involved, including the determination of what other growth signaling pathways are affected by SULF2. They are also looking further at GPC3 as a potential biomarker for liver cancer or as a possible therapeutic target.
In 2007, Dr. Lai presented information at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on the role of SULF2 in survival of patients with head and neck cancer -- the first concrete link to survival of patients with a specific tumor type.
Elizabeth Zimmermann | EurekAlert!
Solving the efficiency of Gram-negative bacteria
22.03.2019 | Harvard University
Bacteria bide their time when antibiotics attack
22.03.2019 | Rice University
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Life Sciences
22.03.2019 | Information Technology