Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find drug that blocks spread of lung cancer in mice

01.09.2005


Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a compound that shows promise as a way to block the spread, or metastasis, of lung cancer.



The researchers found that the compound blocks an enzyme that is known to keep cells immortal and that is implicated in almost all human cancers. From results in mice, they determined that the compound, called GRN163L, also works rapidly and in doses that would be reasonable for therapy. It may be particularly useful after surgery or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy to prevent residual cancer cells from spreading.

"We showed for the first time that this drug can work in animals," said Dr. Jerry Shay, professor of cell biology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, which appears in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, killing more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined, according to the American Cancer Society.

Lung adenocarcinoma accounts for about 40 percent of lung cancers. Its rate is increasing worldwide, Dr. Shay said, and survival rates are poor because the disease metastasizes, usually by the time treatment begins in most cases.

The researchers designed, synthesized and tested GRN163L, which consists of 13 nucleotides, the units that make up DNA, plus a fatty section that improves the rate at which cells take it in.

GRN163L specifically matches a stretch of DNA at the end of the chromosome, a segment called the telomere. Normally, as cells divide and age, telomeres become shorter and shorter. When they reach a certain length, the cells stop dividing.

But the telomeres in cancerous cells stay the same length, thanks to an enzyme called telomerase. The gene that creates telomerase is active in about 85 percent to 90 percent of tumors and in only a few noncancerous cells.

"Telomerase is the immortalizing gene," said Dr. Shay.

Telomerase doesn’t cause cancer, but it allows the cancer cells to keep dividing. It’s almost a universal target for fighting cancer, Dr. Shay said, and its specificity is what makes it attractive for attack. Telomerase works by binding to DNA and, with a protein section, keeping the chromosome from getting shorter. GRN163L apparently prevents telomerase from binding.

The researchers injected human lung tumor cells into the tails of mice and found that GRN163L blocked the development of metastatic tumors over several months. The higher the dose, the fewer tumors there were.

"That suggests that this drug prevented the lung metastasis," Dr. Shay said, noting that the reactions took place at doses that would be considered reasonable for treatment. The compound might not be effective, however, in someone in whom metastasis has already begun, he said.

The research was partly responsible for getting the drug into clinical trials, where it will soon be tested on humans, Dr. Shay said. The trials, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, are at an early stage, in which the drug is simply being tested for safety.

"We will be surprised if we see any toxicity," he said.

Future experiments on animals will involve combining GRN163L with other drugs and with radiation and therapy to see how it interacts with these other cancer treatments.

"What we’re really interested in is getting this novel therapeutic to work, to minimize the suffering and pain that people have with cancer therapy," Dr. Shay said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study were Drs. Gunnur Dikmen and Ginelle Gellert, former postdoctoral researchers in cell biology, Dr. Shalmica Jackson, postdoctoral researcher in cell biology, and Dr. Woodring Wright, professor of cell biology. Researchers from the Geron Corp. also participated.

Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

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...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

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...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

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...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

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....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

20.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>